Range Tracking

Apollo 11 Command Module

Launched on a Saturn V rocket in July 1969, the Apollo 11 Command Module is the only piece of equipment that made the entire round trip to the Moon and back on the first successful lunar landing attempt carried out by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins. Here are a few images of that historic spacecraft in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

At the time the images were taken a few years ago at the National Air and Space Museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C., the Command Module was encased in rather aged plexiglass in the lobby of the museum.

The Apollo 11 Command Module Hatch has its own display, which contrasts it with the old hatch on the Apollo 1 Command Module. According to the interpretive display, “This is the hatch from the Apollo 11 Command Module. This single hatch could be opened outward in five seconds by pumping the handle to activate a pressurized nitrogen cylinder. Prior to the tragic [Apollo 1] fire in January 1967 in which three astronauts died [Ed White, Roger Chaffee, and Gus Grissom], there were two hatches on the Apollo command module requiring 90 seconds to open.” It was due to the lengthy process needed to open the old hatch that the Apollo 1 astronauts were killed in the spacecraft fire.

The Command Module instrument panel that controlled all aspects of the flight to the Moon and back. Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Mike Collins would operate the spacecraft for a time by himself while his two crew mates journeyed down to the lunar surface. Generally, it was a team effort by all three astronauts to pilot the spacecraft.

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