Planning the mission - The story of Apollo 11
Chief astronaut and director of flight crew operations, Donald K. Slayton (right front) reviews lunar charts with Apollo 11 astronauts Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong, and Edwin Aldrin during breakfast a short time before the three men launched for the first Moon landing mission. Sharing breakfast with the crew was William Anders (left rear), Lunar Module pilot for the Apollo 8 lunar orbit mission. The Apollo 11 mission launched from the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida via the Marshall Space Flight Center-developed Saturn V launch vehicle on July 16, 1969 and safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. The CM, "Columbia", piloted by Collins, remained in a parking orbit around the Moon while the LM, "Eagle'', carrying astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin, landed on the Moon. On July 20, 1969, Armstrong was the first human to stand on the lunar surface, followed by Aldrin. During 2½ hours of surface exploration, the crew collected 47 pounds of lunar surface material for analysis back on Earth.