Apollo 11: Michael Collins returns to launch site on 50th anniversary

17 July, 2019, 17:09 | Author: Darnell Taylor
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"Apollo 11 is the only event of the 20th century that stands a chance of being widely remembered in the 30th century", said Pence said.

"We crew felt the weight of the world on our shoulders, we knew that everyone would be looking at us, friend or foe", command module pilot Michael Collins said from the Kennedy Space Center.

He joined Cabana as the USA space agency counted down to the exact minute in which the Apollo 11 crew's massive Saturn V rocket roared into blue skies on a sunny day in 1969.

Collins remained in lunar orbit, tending to Columbia, the mother ship, while Armstrong and Aldrin landed in the Eagle on July 20, 1969, and spent two-and-a-half hours walking the lunar surface.

He was also the lead flight director for Apollo 13, guiding the crippled spacecraft back to Earth safely after an oxygen tank exploded during the flight to the moon, forcing the crew to swing around the moon and return to Earth without a lunar landing.

The Apollo 17 mission in December 1972 marks the last time a man walked on the moon, but there are plans to return to the moon by 2024.

At the Air and Space Museum in Washington, the spacesuit Mr Armstrong wore went back on display in mint condition, complete with lunar dust left on the suit's knees, thighs and elbows.

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Collins described how the mission was broken into discrete goals such as going faster than the Earth's escape velocity - the speed needed to break free of the planet's gravitational pull - or slowing down for lunar orbit.

"There was palpable tension, and the firing room quieted down as soon as the flight crew came out", she explained, during a NASA interview in the Firing Room.

"I want to go direct to Mars", he said. "I think we all ought to be a little ashamed that we can't do better than that".

"He was very intelligent, he had an extremely wide background of knowledge, scientific knowledge, historical knowledge".

For his part, President Donald Trump has relaunched the race to re-conquer the Moon - this time with the first woman - and to journey onwards to Mars. Hundreds of youngsters attending Space Camp counted down and cheered as the rockets created a grey cloud, at least for a few moments, in the sky.

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