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The Apollo 11 mission, the first manned lunar mission, launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida via the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) developed Saturn V launch vehicle on July 16, 1969 and safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. Aboard the space craft were astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, Command Module (CM) pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module (LM) pilot. The CM, piloted by Michael Collins remained in a parking orbit around the Moon while the LM, named ?Eagle??, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, landed on the Moon. During 21Ú2 hours of surface exploration, the crew collected 47 pounds of lunar surface material for analysis back on Earth. Shown here is the recovery operation of the capsule in the Pacific Ocean after splashdown. A Navy para-rescue man and one of the three astronauts close the spacecraft hatch as the other astronauts watch from the life raft. The crew was airlifted to safety aboard the U.S.S. Hornet, where they were quartered in a Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF). With the success of Apollo 11, the national objective to land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth had been accomplished.

Credit: NASA

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