On October 4, 1957 the Soviet Union, our chief rival the in Civil War, launched the worlds first satellite, the Sputnik 1 (Piddock, Zissou). Scared the Soviet Union would gain control of space; President John F. Kennedy met with NASA to discuss putting a man on the moon (Piddock, Zissou). The Apollo 11 mission wasn’t just the first lunar-landing attempt: it was a giant step for mankind that came with various consequences (SV; SV). In the NASA meeting Kennedy stated, “Whatever the cost, we must get a man on the moon before the soviets. There’s nothing more important” (Piddock, Zissou).
On September 12, 1962 President Kennedy delivered his address rallying the nation to support his decision (Piddock, Zissou). In his speech he said, “We will choose to go to the moon in this decade… not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one that we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win” (Piddock, Zissou). The United States was in a race to get a man on the moon before anybody else, and the main reason for that were political considerations. No other reasons motivated them more to go back (Encyclopedia Britannica).
After making some final decisions NASA had picked their astronauts: Neil Armstrong, who would be the mission commander, Michael Collins, the command-module pilot, and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., the lunar module pilot (General statement: Specific example) (Piddock, Zissou). The hardest decision to make was whom they were going to pick to be the first man to step on the moon, because they didn’t want to base it on individual desire. Deke Slayton ended up pick Neil because he was a civilian and NASA wanted to keep the first steps on another world free of militarism; however, Aldrin was appalled because it was based off of political grounds and not operational considerations (SV; CA, SV) (Andrew 148). Not wanting to make the mission even more complicated than it already was, Aldrin brushed it off and with that they started training.
On July 16, 1969 history was made. This day was the day the Apollo 11 ship and its crew would take off for the moon from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, live on television in front of the whole world to see. The 3 astronauts kept quiet as they stood in the shadow of a full sized, 6 million pound, 36 story high Saturn V moon rocket (Glish). With less than 3 minutes left, the launch team wished the crew good luck, and at 9:32 A.M. the rocket’s engines powered up. When Wernher von Braun blasted them into space the liftoff was so perfect they didn’t need the 3 en route trajectory corrections. (Schraff 72).
After 4 days of traveling in space, they began to orbit the moon. Right after the lunar module “Eagle” separated from the command module “Columbia”, they made 12 revolutions around the moon; Armstrong landed the Eagle on the 13th revolution...