On July 20, 1969, that is exactly 49 years ago, the astronauts of the manned spacecraft Apollo 11 became the first people to land the surface of the Moon. Years of effort, dangerous experiments, exhausting training and ambitious missions were not in vain. For the first time in history, people landed on the surface of another celestial body, opening the way for subsequent manned missions to the satellite of our planet. This event was watched live by millions of people around the world.

On the moon, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin stayed for 21 hours 36 minutes and 21 seconds. Having installed the American flag on the surface of the Moon, a set of scientific instruments and collecting samples of lunar soil, the crew went home. On the occasion of the 49th anniversary, the Space.com portal prepared a photographic material on the preparation for this historic space mission.

In the photo above, from left to right you can see the AS-201, AS-202 and AS-203 launch vehicles in 1966 in preparation for the Apollo program. Launch of the first carrier rocket “Saturn-1B” AS-201 was carried out from the cosmodrome at Cape Canaveral on February 26, 1966. The launch of the Saturn-1B rocket AS-202 was carried out on August 25, 1966. The launch of the AS-203 was made on July 5, 1966. All three launches were unmanned. The main task was to develop the command and service compartments in the suborbital flight.

The crew of the Apollo-1

Astronauts Virgil Iwan Grissom Edward White and Roger Chuffey were selected as the crew of the first “Apollo”. The crew died on January 27, 1967 in a fire during the preparation for the first manned flight under the Apollo program a month before the scheduled start.

Training for Outward

Training of the Apollo-1 crew at the US Air Force Base Ellington in June 1966. In the foreground on the inflatable boat, Edward White sits, Roger Chuffey descends from the module to the boat. Virgil Aivan Grissom sits in the module and waits his turn.

Preparing for lunar gravity

Training Roger Chuffey in the lunar training runway. Using a low gravity simulator, scientists studied the factors associated with the difference in gravity that astronauts would have expected on the lunar surface.

Consequences of a fire

On January 27, 1967, a fire that took the lives of the first crew of Apollo-1 caused significant damage to the Apollo / Saturn 204 module (AS-204). Probable cause of the tragedy was a spark or a short circuit in the wiring. The commission that conducted the investigation identified several potentially dangerous places in the ship's design. After the fire, the fire spread very quickly and damaged the astronaut's spacesuits. The complicated design of the hatch and its locks prevented the crew from hastily opening the hatch from the inside under the circumstances. The Commission found that astronauts died from poisoning by products of combustion 14 seconds after the start of the fire.

Development of spacesuits

Specialist of the NASL Research Center Langley Kenneth R. Jenny tries on one of the spacesuits designed for the mission “Apollo.”


The overalls designed for the Apollo mission were to be worn on the surface of the moon. A fitting is performed by one of NASA employees.

Moon landing test machine

Specialists of the NASA Research Center conducted tests of different versions of aircraft for the development of lunar landings on Earth. The development of the first such aircraft began in 1963. It was commissioned by Bell Aerosystems.

The LOLA project

The artist creates a large detailed image of the lunar surface on the basis of four satellite surface photographs for the simulator Lunar Orbit and Landing Approach or LOLA (simulator approaching the lunar orbit and landing). The cost of developing the simulator was $ 2 million. He was to help the pilots of the landing modules prepare for the landing.

Work on the simulator LOLA

The photo shows how the pilot uses the LOLA simulator. The simulator is an impromptu cockpit, surrounded by a system of TV monitors, which displays a picture of outer space and the surface of the moon. Such a method allowed the pilot to get a near-real visual sensation of approaching the lunar surface.

Preparation at full speed

Preparation of the crew of Apollo-8 by James Lovell, William Anders and Frank Borman. Composite image. The photo below also shows the location of the astronauts inside the test simulator, which repeats the interior of the current spacecraft.

Simulator docking

Simulator docking spacecraft was used to prepare astronauts for the Gemini project. Later it was modified to prepare astronauts for the Apollo missions.

Neil Armstrong

Simulator for training astronauts called “Iron Cross”. Allowed to simulate some loads when landing and maneuvering the spacecraft. Neil Armstrong in the photo uses a simulator as a pilot. Before becoming an astronaut, Armstrong served for 7 years as a military pilot of a fighter, as well as a test pilot of the US Navy.

A simulator of the lunar surface

April 22, 1969. Astronauts of the mission “Apollo 11” are trained in conditions simulating the lunar surface. During the training shown in the photo, astronauts are practiced using various instruments for working on the lunar surface.


Astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin trains under weightless conditions aboard the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker in preparation for the Apollo 11 mission.

Survival Skills

Underwater drill of Ken Mattingly on January 17, 1970. The astronaut was preparing for the manned mission “Apollo 13.”

Training physical endurance

Astronaut Jim Lovell, future commander of Apollo 13, undergoes physical fitness training at the Kennedy Space Center.

Moon module

Exposition of the layout of the lunar module. The image is composite. The photos were taken during the night workout for the “acclimatization” of astronauts inside the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

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