07/16/1969 Apollo 11
Apollo 11, with Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin, Jr., lifted off for the moon on July 16th. On July 20th, while on the far side of the moon, the lunar module, called "Eagle," separated from the Columbia. After a careful visual inspection, Eagle fired its engine and began its descent. Despite four-alarm bells and a descent that took the lunar module to a boulder-strewn area, Armstong landed the Eagle on Tranquilty Base. Six and a half hours after landing, Armstrong made his descent to the moon surface and made the famous statement: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." After 21 hours and 36 minutes, Eagle fired its ascent engines and rendezvoused with the Columbia for the return flight. The astronauts returned to earth on July 24th, welcomed as heroes.