First Lunar Landing

Topics: Apollo 11, Moon, Neil Armstrong Pages: 6 (1898 words) Published: April 10, 2013
The First Lunar Landing

The first lunar landing ever to happen in the history of mankind may be one of the most inspiring events of all time. America and its people went through tremendous amounts of stress dealing with the rivalry between Americans and the Soviet Union on who would be the first to put a man on the moon. The men and women that contributed to making this idea, or even a fantasy come to life will be remembered for hundreds, or even thousands of years.

On July 20th, 1969, the world had been changed forever. An event took place that made it clear that nothing is impossible. Two astronauts of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) had set foot on the moon. The world watched in amazement as these men made history. Many factors led up to this event, and without them taking place, the lunar landing would have not even been a possibility.

The rivalry between America and the Soviet Union (now Russia) was no little issue. The Soviet Union had been successful in sending multiple satellites into space and even landing a probe on the moon according to Moon Landing by Nadia Higgins. The Soviet Union, in the world’s eyes was the most superior country at this time. Vice President, and Chairman of the Space Council, Lyndon Johnson wrote “In the eyes of the world, first in space is first, period. Second in space is second in everything.” according to Moon Landing by Nadia Higgins. This statement is what provided inspiration to the men and women that would make space travel take place.

On May 5th, 1961, the question of American space travel was answered. Alan Shepard Jr. became the first American to go into space. Even though he flew in space for a short fifteen minutes, Americans reacted with “overwhelming pride” according to Moon Landing by Nadia Higgins. The stage was set, and John F. Kennedy had announced “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” NASA has now been given a deadline by the president. They had to land a man on the Moon.

Nine months after Kennedy’s statement, John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth. This gave NASA more and more hope on a moon landing. NASA had started preparing for lunar landing already. The idea of a lunar module was chosen as the best way to go for getting a man to the moon. Twenty thousand American companies were designing and building the spacecraft and equipment that would be required in space travel, while NASA’s staff increased to thirty-three thousand people.

Just when America thought they had caught up in this space race, Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov became the first ever man to “space walk” or float free in space while attached to his spacecraft. NASA knew they had to catch up, and three months later, astronaut Ed White became the first American to space walk. Attached to the Gemini 4, Ed White looked down at Earth with American flag across his suit’s left sleeve. Project Gemini proved that all the skills that America needed to perform a lunar landing were now there.

NASA prepared for the moon landing now by selecting the astronauts that would help make the mission a success. The first selection was a man named Neil Armstrong, who had flown 78 combat missions in the Korean War. Since he was assigned commander, he would be the first to set foot on the moon. His performance on previous NASA missions proved that he would make a great commander in this mission.

On January 27th, 1967, the Apollo 1 boarded their spacecraft to perform tests. What happens next was one of the biggest tragedies in NASA history. Three astronauts, named Roger Chaffee, Ed White, and Virgil “Gus” Grissom had climbed inside of their cockpit that was filled with pure oxygen. For about five-and-a-half hours, tests were being taking with these men squeezed inside this tiny compartment. A fire erupted inside the cockpit and the men were locked inside with...
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