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Moon landing 50 years ago.

Byline: The NOSTALGIA @DaveSMorton Newcastle Chronicle - History Photosales - 0191 201 6000

T'S 50 years since man first walked on the Moon.

IEven now it's hard to fully comprehend the achievement, but on Sunday, July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and, 15 minutes later, Buzz Aldrin, set foot on the lunar surface.

Armstrong's utterance: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," would become one of the most famous of the 20th century - or indeed any century.

Our sister title, the Sunday Sun, earned itself a place as a historic footnote to the momentous event.

The Newcastle-based newspaper was reputedly the first in the world to hit the news stands, only minutes after the manned lunar module touched down on the Moon's surface at 8.17pm UK time.

The following day's Chronicle also led with the story, under the headlines 'Secrets Of New World Are Unlocked' and 'Astronauts do kangaroo bop on the Moon's surface'.

We told how: "Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin settled down to sleep in their spaceship Eagle on Tranquillity base today after their epic walk on the Moon.

"Above the Moon, astronaut Michael Collins, who did not see the television spectacular of the first men on the Moon - as did millions of other people around the world - orbited in the mother ship, Columbia, and he too was sleeping."

After their rest, Armstrong and Aldrin would successfully rejoin Collins floating in lunar orbit - and make their way back to Earth.

Apollo 11's epoch-changing mission - from the spectacular launch of the massive Saturn V rocket at Cape Kennedy in Florida to the crew's joyous splashdown in the Pacific Ocean - lasted eight days.

Before that, there had been years of hard work, trial and error, and bitter rivalry with the Soviet Union who had their own lunar ambitions.

In fact, the Soviets had achieved notable firsts in the 'space race', launching the artificial satellite Sputnik in 1957 and, five years later, propelling air force pilot Yuri Gagarin, into orbit.

It was a speech by President Kennedy in 1962, proclaiming "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade" that boldly set out America's intention.

Fifty years ago today, that ambition became reality and millions around the globe watched the drama from 250,000 miles away unfold on live TV.

There would be six more Apollo missions. Apollo 17 was the last, successfully landing in December 1972. Of the 12 men who walked on the Moon, only four are still alive in 2019.

And for those of us who were living our lives at the time of Apollo 11, we are in an ever-shrinking minority.

Only 20% of the world's population today was alive when Armstrong and Aldrin went walking on the Moon.


Apollo 11 astronauts, from left, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin

The Saturn V rocket carrying Apollo 11 launches on July 16, 1969

The Apollo 11 mission reached the Moon on 20, 1969 - 50 years ago today


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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 20, 2019
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