On July 16, 1969, a Saturn V rocket lifted off carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin aboard the Apollo 11 spacecraft. They orbited the Earth and then the rocket refired, sending them toward the moon. Command Module Columbia separated from the Saturn V rocket and attached itself to Lunar Module Eagle.
On July 19th, after 24 hours in orbit, the astronauts separated the Lunar Module from the Command Module in preparation for their descent to the moon. Collins remained in the Command Module to serve as a communication link between Armstrong and Aldrin, who were landing on the moon, and Mission Control back on Earth. On July 20, the Lunar Module Eagle landed on a lava plain in the area called the Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong sent the message, "Houston. Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed," to Mission Control. Six hours later, Armstrong, followed by Aldrin, took the first human steps on the moon.
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