Apollo 11: This week marks the 50th anniversary. Doctor Aviation will post a daily blog recounting each day of the voyage. July 16 marks Day 1, the day of the launch.
The astronauts are awakened at 4:15am. Their first task: eat breakfast. It was not continental affair. The menu was steaks and eggs, orange juice toast and coffee. Following breakfast, the astronauts began to suit up for the mission, the time 5:35am. The process took nearly an hour, but at 6:27am the three got I an air-conditioned van and were driven the eight miles to the launch pad.
Neil Armstrong was the first to enter the Command Module at 6:54am. Armstrong was seated on the left, Buzz Aldrin entered five minutes later and sat in the middle, Michael Collins sat to the right. The next 2+ hours are filled with system checks as the countdown continues. The temperature is in the mid-80s and a slight breeze blows from the southeast.
Eager citizens, dignitaries and other visitors are seated 3.5 miles from the launch pad. Some are seated in grandstands and others stand on the sand flats. It is estimated that one million people are around the Cape to watch.
At 9:32am, five of the Saturn V’s engines create a tremendous fireball, followed by a thunderous roar and the huge rocket slowly lifts from the pad. “Good luck and Godspeed” radios Launch Control.
Within three minutes the craft is traveling 6,340 miles per hour, 37 miles high and 61 miles downrange from the Cape. The craft enters an orbit of the earth at 9:44am so that astronauts and ground personnel can check over the craft.
Onto the Moon
At 12:22pm the astronauts are blasted out of earth’s orbit towards the moon. Twenty-seven minutes later the astronauts unpack the Eagle (LM). Once they unpack the Eagle they dock into onto the Columbia. They speed towards the moon at 24,200mph.
At 8:52pm the astronauts are cleared to go to bed. This is two hours earlier than planned. However, after sixteen hours of work, the astronauts have earned a rest.