403 ERROR The request could not be space painting for kids. On 20th July 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon.
Read on to find out about Neil Armstrong, and the other NASA astronauts who visited the moon as part of the Apollo programme. As specialist retailers of space toys, space dressing up and other fun space stuff, we love everything about space exploration. If you would like to visit our online shop, please visit www. NASA’s challenge – to go to the moon! Around fifty years ago, the United States of America and Russia were competing with each other to prove that they were the most powerful country in the world. Space exploration became a key area in which they could show their superiority. Russia beat the United States to put the first man in space, when in 1961 Yuri Gagarin flew into space in his rocket, Vostok 1.
Newly elected US President John F Kennedy decided to show America’s might by challenging NASA to put a man on the moon, in less than ten years. Click to hear an excerpt of the speech John F Kennedy made at Rice University in 1962, outlining his plans for a manned American mission to the moon. Listen to a sound clip of the landing by clicking here. When they landed, the first words said on the moon were “the Eagle has landed”, and as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface he said “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Listen to this famous speech by clicking here. They explored the moon’s surface for less than three hours, collecting 22 kilograms of rocks for study back on earth.
When they returned to earth they were welcomed as celebrities, and international heroes! The first Apollo crew died tragically in an accident during training. NASA then made changes to make Apollo spacecraft safer for their crews. Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft that flew the 250,000 miles to the moon. They flew round the moon and came back again, but did not land. Apollo 11 was the mission where NASA were satisfied every part of the spacecraft had been tested and was ready for an attempt to land on the moon.
The last Apollo mission was Apollo 17. By 1972 public interest was waning in moon landings, and since Apollo 17, no-one has returned to the moon. Following President Kennedy’s challenge in 1961, NASA began a race to land people on the moon before the end of the 1960’s. After the Apollo 1 tragedy, when a fire inside the command module killed three astronauts, NASA revisited the design of the Apollo spacecraft, making many changes to improve safety.
When Apollo missions restarted, they were unmanned – Apollo flights 2 to 6 were remote controlled flights, used by NASA to test each of the parts of the Apollo spacecraft, making sure everything worked before any astronauts were carried into space. Apollo 7 was the first manned flight, and Apollo 8 proved that astronauts could fly all the way to the moon and back, though the crew did not land. Apollo 9 and 10 were used for testing the Lunar Module, the spacecraft that would land on the moon. That meant that by Apollo 11, everything was ready to attempt a moon landing! Using the knowledge gained from the previous Apollo missions, NASA decided the Apollo 11 crew would try for a moon landing. Three days after launching from earth, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin flew the Lunar Module down to the moon’s surface.
The world listened as the astronauts struggled to find a suitable site to land their spacecraft. When they touched down, their instruments reported that they had only about 20 seconds worth of fuel left! The Lunar Module carried cameras that allowed Apollo 11 to broadcast TV pictures of the astronauts stepping down onto the surface of the moon, and 600 million people around the world tuned in to watch this historic moment. On this first visit to the moon, the astronauts spent less than three hours exploring.