Over half a century ago, on July 20, 1969, humans walked on the Moon for the first time — and returned to walk on the lunar surface five more times. This mission, Apollo 11, was a part of the Apollo Program (1961-1972), which sought to revolutionize our relationship with space.

The Apollo Missions

Many are familiar with Apollo 11, the mission that landed humans on the Moon for the first time, but there were 14 missions total during the Apollo Program. Many of the early Apollo missions allowed NASA to test key technology responsible for getting astronauts to the Moon and back, such as the Saturn V rocket. After humans landed on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission, each mission that followed built on the previous – from the first use of the lunar roving vehicle to the lunar surface camera.  

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

On July 20th, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts set foot on the Moon for the very first time. With this landmark moment, the Apollo program had met President Kennedy's call to land people on the Moon before the end of the decade. 

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Explore Apollo in the Museum's Collection

The National Air and Space Museum is home to an extensive collection of objects from the Apollo Program. The collection features iconic items such as Neil Armstrong's spacesuit and the Command Module Columbia, as well as seemingly mundane objects, like a razor and shaving cream from Apollo 11. Together these items tell a story about a monumental human achievement. 

Meet the People Behind the Apollo Program

Thousands of people contributed to the success of the Apollo Program. Meet a handful of them below. 

Outcomes of the Apollo Program and Looking Forward

The Apollo Program ushered in a wave of excitement about space, and its accomplishments were many. Landing humans on the surface of the Moon was just one of the many feats of the Apollo Program, which also expanded our scientific knowledge of space and planets, furthered spacecraft technology, and changed the way humanity pictured itself in the universe. When Apollo 17 lifted off from the Moon in 1972, it marked the last time humans would set foot on the Moon in the 20th century.

three white Apollo spacesuits
Explore How the Museum Celebrated
50 Years of Apollo

In 2019, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum helped lead a national celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 the first Moon landing, which occurred on July 20,1969. Take a look back at how we celebrated this monumental anniversary.

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