Do you remember the moon landing 50 years on?

Ben Fox
Ben Fox

What represented a giant leap for mankind was undoubtedly a moment to savour for those who watched from Earth as the Apollo 11 mission completed its successful landing on the Moon half a century ago.

Eight years on from the announcement in 1963 by President John F. Kennedy, stating his ambition to put a man on the Moon, 500 million people across the planet tuned in via radio and television to witness man’s first steps on the surface of Earth’s natural satellite – steps that are still visible on its surface five decades on.

Now, to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, The Moorlander wanted to hear from you on your memories of the day. Where were you when Neil Armstrong and his crew touched down? What were your thoughts? Here are your best answers.

Jeremy, Exeter

Anyone who saw this on live TV will always remember where they were at the time. I was thirteen and sitting with my dad in the living room of our council house in Leicestershire. It was the BBC’s coverage and we watched it on a tiny black and white TV. James Burke and Patrick Moore were hosting. They were more nervous than anyone.

I was young and flagging fast. Well it was the middle of the night!

But I soon became fully awake when the LEM’s engines created the dust and made that iconic touchdown on the eerie white surface. Them
being low on fuel and having to select an unplanned landing area added to the drama.

I remember thinking about the millions of people around the world watching the same images as me at that same instant.

A moment in time that’s hard-wired in my memory. RIP Neil Armstrong.

Stuart, Chagford

In July 1969, I was at home with mum. My father was away working, but he called in the middle of the night on the 21st July that year and told mum to get me up to watch the first man to step on the moon even though I had school that morning.

It’s hard to believe that it was 50 years ago that mum and I sat in a darkened room to watch the grainy footage of Neil Armstrong stepping off the ladder of the space capsule ‘Eagle’ saying the historic words ‘One small step for man one giant leap for mankind’.

Minutes later he was joined by fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin who planted the Stars and Stripes American flag on the surface.

I had another sleepless night in April 1970 when Apollo 13 had informed “Houston: we have a problem”. The world watched and held its breath as the stricken spaceship was nursed home with all three crew alive.

Since then I have covered a number of space stories including one for The Sunday Times Magazine about women who were taken on early in the space programme to train as astronauts but who never flew.

These old ladies were, when I met them, flying tourists around and one was crop dusting in a biplane. At the time it was said that the powers at NASA would rather put a dog into space than a woman.

John, Devon
I remember watching a very small-screen black and white television with the whole family gathered round.

The great Walter Cronkite narrating what was the most exciting event of my young life. Who knew what was going to happen? In my mind it was possible that little green men would open fire on Apollo 11 or, equally possible, that something would go terribly wrong and the astronauts would be stranded on the moon.

Instead it all went well. Success meant that I could start dreaming of going there myself, of space travel for all and of a new age when the world could put aside its differences and work together to go to the stars.
What a time that was.

Gordon, Ivybridge

I was in holiday in Scarborough as a 10-year-old.
My parents allowed me to stay up to watch it live in our boarding house. As a young Glasgow boy at the time, I could only dream of such things.

Many years later I finally made it to Kennedy Space Centre when, at that time, you could still go up and touch the Saturn 5 transporter. Many years after that I got to a launch there.

Not the Shuttle unfortunately but equally as exciting. Who can take away a child’s imagination and wonder at great things?
Janet, Okehampton

I watched the landing on TV at home. It was 11 days before my 7th birthday. I was completely unaware they landed so low on fuel.

After they had landed, I went outside. I knew the moon was visible, and I also knew there was no way I would be able to see them … but I looked anyway.

Back on TV, I remember seeing Neil Armstrong coming down the ladder and on the surface of the Moon. I am sure I watched for as long as they broadcasted.

My dad was a history professor, and this was history.

Eric, Hatherleigh

I shall always remember the date of the moon landing as it coincides with my own cause for celebration having officially left school for good on the Friday before!

I genuinely intended to stay up and witness this historic event at my best pals Rob’s house, as he was the only one who had a colour telly, only to find that having a posh 21” colour set actually counted for diddly squat as all the pictures beamed from the Sea of Tranquility were in black and white anyway!

The trouble was, in celebrating my new-found freedom from the stranglehold of academia, I had been on my very first weekend-long bender along a few other school mates. By the time Neil Armstrong had set foot on the moon’s powdery  surface and proclaimed those now well-documented and immortal words, at nearly three o’clock in the morning 225,000 miles away, back on planet earth, the boy Partridge was slumped in a settee somewhere in Birmingham, well and truly out of it and totally oblivious to the fact that history was being made.

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