Buzz Aldrin salutes the U.S flag on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission
On July 20, 1969, American Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin made history when they became the first people to walk on the moon.
Putting a man on the moon had been a national goal since 1961, when President John F. Kennedy identified it as an objective in a speech to Congress. The first unmanned NASA Apollo mission was conducted in 1966, and more missions followed to prepare for the lunar landing.
Apollo 11, the mission tasked with landing on the moon, launched on the morning of July 16, 1969, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida–watched by millions of people. Aboard were Commander Neil Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin, and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins. All three had participated in space missions before.
The astronauts entered lunar orbit on July 19. With Collins staying behind to pilot the command module (Columbia), Armstrong and Aldrin entered the lunar module (Eagle) and descended to the moon’s surface on July 20. Armstrong exited first, with Aldrin following about 20 minutes later. Armstrong’s now famous quote upon stepping on the moon was “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
On the moon, the two astronauts planted a U.S. flag, collected lunar surface samples, took photos and videos, and deployed several scientific experiments. Out of the more than 21 hours they were on the moon, Armstrong spent about 2 ½ hours outside the lunar module and Aldrin spent about 1 ½. After the moon walk, the two men returned to the lunar module, lifted off, and re-docked with the Columbia.
Return to Earth
Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins returned to earth on July 24, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean and marking a successful end to the Apollo 11 mission. The astronauts became national heroes and were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Learn more about the Apollo 11 Moon Landing through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Apollo 11 Moon Landing
President John F. Kennedy announces moon landing as national goal in a speech Thu, May 25, 1961 – Page 5 · The Eugene Guard (Eugene, Oregon) · Newspapers.comOpinion: Success of Apollo 9 makes "a moon landing almost certain" Fri, Mar 14, 1969 – 6 · Fort Lauderdale News (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) · Newspapers.comIllustrated chart showing the plan for Apollo 11’s journey, from blastoff to it’s return to earth Thu, Jul 10, 1969 – Page 4 · The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comNewspaper article giving details about the production of the "Apollo-Saturn 5 moon rocket" Mon, Jul 21, 1969 – Page 49 · The News Journal (Wilmington, Delaware) · Newspapers.comNewspaper front page announces successful launch of Apollo 11 from Cape Kennedy Wed, Jul 16, 1969 – 1 · The Miami News (Miami, Florida) · Newspapers.com"Cars Backed Up 10 Miles in Area of Cape Kennedy" for Apollo 11 launch Thu, Jul 17, 1969 – 17 · The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida) · Newspapers.com"Offices, banks, schools to close for moon-walk" in Florida Thu, Jul 17, 1969 – 1 · The Miami News (Miami, Florida) · Newspapers.comNewspaper front page after the successful moon landing by Armstrong and Aldrin Mon, Jul 21, 1969 – 1 · The Miami News (Miami, Florida) · Newspapers.comCanadian front page newspaper coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing Mon, Jul 21, 1969 – 1 · Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) · Newspapers.comBritish front page newspaper coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing Tue, Jul 22, 1969 – 1 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comAustralian front page newspaper coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing Mon, Jul 21, 1969 – Page 1 · The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) · Newspapers.comAmericans pictured cheering while watching Armstrong’s first step on the moon in New York City Mon, Jul 21, 1969 – Page 5 · Muncie Evening Press (Muncie, Indiana) · Newspapers.comAmerica’s reaction to watching and listening to the moon landing and walk Mon, Jul 21, 1969 – Page 5 · Muncie Evening Press (Muncie, Indiana) · Newspapers.comPicture of Mission Control in Houston, Texas, watching the Apollo 11 astronauts moon walk Mon, Jul 21, 1969 – Page 8 · Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, California) · Newspapers.comApollo 11 astronauts' families react to the moon landing Mon, Jul 21, 1969 – Page 8 · Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, California) · Newspapers.comPresident Nixon talks with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon Mon, Jul 21, 1969 – Page 16 · Lansing State Journal (Lansing, Michigan) · Newspapers.comNeil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moon walk is "followed by a successful blastoff and lunar orbit" Mon, Jul 21, 1969 – Page 1 · The Daily Tribune (Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin) · Newspapers.com"Varied views" on the Apollo 11 moon landing from a Canadian newspaper Tue, Jul 22, 1969 – 13 · The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada) · Newspapers.com"Moon Landing’s Success Expected to Bolster Chances for Greater Exploration Programs" Tue, Jul 22, 1969 – 4 · The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) · Newspapers.comApollo 11 astronauts splashdown in the Pacific Ocean three days after launch Thu, Jul 24, 1969 – 1 · Palladium-Item (Richmond, Indiana) · Newspapers.comApollo 11 crew safely splashes down and is picked up by the USS Hornet in the Pacific Ocean Thu, Jul 24, 1969 – 1 · Orlando Evening Star (Orlando, Florida) · Newspapers.com