Apollo 11 Spacecraft

Eagle has landed

The Apollo 11 lunar module
Meet the capsule that carried the first men to the lunar surface

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On July 20, 1969, a spacecraft called Eagle made history when it carried the first humans to the surface of the Moon

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Eagle, or the Apollo 11 lunar module, was part of a larger spacecraft that launched from Kennedy Space Center on July 16, on a Saturn V rocket

The lunar module was the spacecraft used to take Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin from the command module orbiting the Moon to the lunar surface and back

During launch, the lunar module was tucked away in a special segment attached to the third stage of the Saturn V launch vehicle, just behind the command and service modules

Soon after leaving Earth’s orbit, the command and service modules separated from the third stage, turned around, docked securely with Eagle, and removed it from the Saturn V vehicle. The spacecraft then coasted to the Moon, ready to undock when the astronauts entered orbit.

The lunar module had two parts: the descent stage had a rocket engine used to slow the rate of descent to the Moon’s surface

The ascent stage, or crew cabin, housed the astronauts during their descent and landing and then ferried them back into lunar orbit

Lunar module statistics

  • Weight (empty):
    3,920 kg (8,650 lb)
  • Weight (with crew & propellant):
    14,700 kg (32,500 lb)
  • Height:
    7.0 m (22 ft 11 in)
  • Width:
    9.4 m (31 ft)

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The two astronauts spent 21 hours on the Moon, including over two hours working outside

The ascent stage launched from the Moon, carrying Armstrong and Aldrin to rejoin Michael Collins in the command module Columbia

The descent stage of the lunar module was left on the Moon at the Sea of Tranquility, the landing site

The ascent stage was jettisoned from the command module once the astronauts were safely back inside Columbia

Fifty years later, the six successful Apollo lunar modules remain the only crewed vehicles to land anywhere beyond Earth