Apollo 11 Spacecraft

Command Module

The Apollo 11 spacecraft
The tiny capsule where the astronauts lived and worked

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The Apollo 11 command module Columbia splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969

In the previous eight days, Columbia carried three astronauts on a historic trip to the Moon and back

Not much bigger than the size of a large car, it had just enough room for the astronauts to live and work, and all of the essential elements for survival in outer space

Over 40 years later, a 3D scan in 2016 revealed messages engraved on Columbia’s walls, including a hand-drawn calendar

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The three astronauts spent the entire journey in Columbia, except for 27 hours during which two of them, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, decoupled the lunar module and traveled down to the Moon

Michael Collins, the command module pilot, stayed in Columbia during the entire mission, continuing to orbit the Moon (14 times) while his crewmates carried out their expedition below

Command module statistics

  • Height
    3.2 m (10 ft 7 in)
  • Maximum Diameter
    3.9 m (12 ft 10 in)
  • Weight
    5,900 kg (13,000 lb)

While Collins orbited the Moon alone, looking for the lunar module on the surface, he referred to sets of coordinates he had written on the walls

After splashing down in the Pacific at the end of the mission, Michael Collins added a final message to Columbia’s walls:

“Spacecraft 107, alias Apollo 11, alias ‘Columbia.’ The Best Ship to Come Down the Line. God Bless Her. Michael Collins, CMP”

The command module was the only part of the Apollo 11 spacecraft that returned to Earth. It splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, southwest of Hawaii, on July 24, 1969.