Apollo 11’s journey to the moon, annotated

Apollo 11’s journey to the moon, annotated

You’re looking at one of the most incredible
moments in human history.
That’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, walking
on the moon.
Okay, maybe you’ve seen this clip before,
but think about that for a second: They’re
on the moon.
A celestial object nearly 240,000 miles into
outer space.
That distance is like flying all the way around
the Earth 9 1/2 times.
Millions of people around the world watched
on July 16, 1969, as Apollo 11, carrying astronauts
Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins
launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida,
and disappeared into the sky.
It was the climax of years of preparation
and research, and the pinnacle moment of the
so-called “Space Race” between the United
States and Soviet Union, a years-long rivalry
to compete for dominance in space exploration.
For the eight days following the launch, the
world awaited the return of the would-be heroes.
So what actually happened between here
and here?
So let’s start with the components of the
ship that were discarded one by one until
became this.
Here’s the rocket that sent the astronauts
into space: the Saturn V.
The three stages of the Saturn V each played
a different role in launching Apollo on a
path to the moon — we’ll get to that later.
On top of the rocket is the actual Apollo
It’s made up of three parts too.
There’s the lunar module, the component
that would eventually land on the lunar surface,
the service module, which had propulsion systems
for course corrections and entering and escaping
orbit, and the command module, where our three
heroes were for most of the mission.
And last but not least, this is the launch
escape system, which was designed to pull
the command module away from the rocket if
something went wrong during launch.
Together, all these pieces made up the Saturn
V rocket and Apollo 11 spacecraft.
But it’s the way they came apart that made
the moon landing happen.
The Saturn V’s first stage launched Apollo,
carrying the spacecraft 42 miles above the
Earth and reaching a speed of about 6,000
miles per hour.
The first stage then detached, and once the
Saturn V’s second stage kicked in, the now
needless launch escape system jettisoned too.
The second stage propelled the spacecraft
even farther and faster into space, and after
it detached, the third stage of the rocket
fired briefly to knock Apollo into a parking
orbit, 103 miles above the Earth’s surface.
Here, final checks were made, and the Saturn
V fired again to set Apollo on course to the
moon, in a move called the “translunar injection.”
Once the spacecraft propelled away from Earth,
the Saturn V’s job was done.
Now the astronauts needed to pull off a mid-flight
maneuver to reconfigure the ship so the crew
could access the lunar module, which had been
stored in a protective compartment during
To do this, the command and service modules
detached together and flipped 180 degrees,
docking with the lunar module and extracting
In the process, they ditched the third, now-useless,
stage of the Saturn rocket.
This whole high-stakes launch process only
took about 3 1/2 hours and this — the completed
Apollo spacecraft — was the end result.
For the next three days, Apollo coasted through
Until it finally reached its target and was
pulled into orbit by the moon’s gravity.
This is where the crew split up.
Armstrong and Aldrin transferred to the lunar
module, named Eagle, and slowly descended
toward the surface.
While Collins continued to circle the moon
in the command module, called Columbia.
Now here comes another tricky part: landing
on the moon.
To make this historic moment happen, Eagle
turned and used its engine to slow its momentum
and ultimately touch down on the lunar surface.
“The Eagle has landed.”
The moonwalk was broadcast live on television,
immortalizing Neil Armstrong’s words here:
“That’s one small step for man, one giant
leap for mankind.”
“I think that was Neil’s quote I didn’t
“‘One small step for man,’ but I didn’t
get the second phrase …”
After about 21 1/2 hours on the moon, Eagle
performed the first launch from a celestial
body that wasn’t Earth, leaving its landing
gear behind and timing its ascent with Columbia’s
path in lunar orbit to rejoin the spacecraft.
Once Armstrong and Aldrin transferred back
into the command module, the lunar module
was no longer needed.
Just like before, Apollo needed to break out
of orbit.
This maneuver is called the transearth injection,
and began the 2 1/2 day journey home.
Upon approaching its entry point into Earth’s
atmosphere and no longer needing its propulsion
engines, Apollo jettisoned the service module
and prepared for reentry, protected by the
now-exposed heat shield on the bottom of the
command module.
“Apollo blazes across the heavens, coming
back to Earth at 25,000 miles per hour.”
Parachutes deployed, and Columbia splashed
down safely into the Pacific Ocean.
And what was once a 3,000-ton behemoth of
rocket, fuel, and freight
was reduced to this.
A small command module floating in the ocean,
carrying three astronauts and rock samples
collected from the surface of the moon.

100 thoughts to “Apollo 11’s journey to the moon, annotated”

  1. For more space-inspired stories check out these Vox videos:
    🚀 Astronauts left poop on the moon. We should go get it. https://youtu.be/VL18F8oHMrU
    🚀 Astronaut ice cream is a lie https://youtu.be/zpkUjrC3-Ds
    🚀 The font that escaped the Nazis and landed on the moon https://youtu.be/SaX_PwxSh5M

  2. I always wondered, how they returned back to earth, this video made that clear for me, thank you Vox

  3. Why do you show a 180 deg turn after the LM is extracted (so LM leads) then in the next shot, at the moon, correctly show the CM in the lead (ready for orbit insertion)?

  4. If you need thrusters along with gravity to get from earth to the moon wouldn't you need thrusters and gravity to get from the moon back to earth?

  5. That's so amazing, in the same way Father Christmas is able to deliver all those presents on Christmas Eve. Fabulous!

  6. now I understand why after 50 years still no one dare try to put another man to the moon, the complexity just out of this world. consider all the gears/rockets almost has to be hand made, the craftsmanship on these thing r lost goes with the engineer. today engineer r no where near them, it took them 1 whole decade for them to perfect the craftsmanship and design. not to mention the amount of money, 400000 crew/engineer at its peak working on this non stop.

  7. I grew up with the space program: Was 9 when Shepard orbited in Mercury. Followed all of the Gemini flights. Was 17 when Apollo 11 landed men on the moon.

    We were a lucky generation to have experienced this. Though this was a patriotic period ( at least during most of the programs ) I never felt, "Oh, we are so great. . .America is doing this." It was "look at what men can do when they put everything they have into something."

    With all of the betrayals of trust and cynicism over the last decades, watching the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs still brings back that feeling of pride and humility.

  8. Don't ask an astronaut clown why he keeps acting like a clown, ask yourself why you keep going to the NASA circus.

  9. The Saturn rocket burnt 70% of fuel while ascending from earth itself. I am wondering how the two guys who landed on moon were able to launch themselves again from moon with so little fuel and that odd shaped non aerodynamic shaped vehicle ( I know there is no air on moon). BTW, did we had reusable rockets those days, which can land on moon as well as can take off? The last time I heard it was Elon Musk who did it.

  10. What about Earth's radiation belt they should have got radiation poisoning or died in the process plus he was not the first one to walk on the moon it was his partner who said up the camera was the first 1 the rest orchestrated to appear as if he was the first one .. anyone with common sense can see somebody put this stuff outside Plus they were busy taking pictures up themselves instead of the landscaper , right now you can't even go to the Moon that's why these people with all their Rockets haven't even try to send a man out there for real they know the consequences of the radiation belt guess what you can't even go to Mars unless you build a lead ship and you know that won't work too heavy common sense but go on and have your so-called dreams but Beware of the nightmare

  11. When it was time to return to Earth, where did the Lunar Module (Eagle) go? Norman Mailer said that it was "jettisoned on a trajectory to the sun."

  12. The only truth was taking off and crash landing in Pacific ocean. Everything in between was filmed on movie set. Computers and technology at that time were not ready for something this complicated. Believe if you want, but I certainly do not.

  13. A L.M. built for our atmosphereic conditions
    A L.M. built for known speeds of less than 2000 km per hour
    To escape earths gravitational pull hahaha which really make your hair stand up on end. The Apollo had to go 40,000 km per hour
    In a vacuum
    Thurst doesn't work
    Maneuverability doesn't work
    Combustion doesn't work
    Humans don't work just ask people who climb mountain's it's so cold and oxygen is so thin at just 8 km
    Reception doesn't work
    Do we really believe that astranuants lived in a freezing ice vacumm without oxygen traveling at 40,000km per hour
    I'm a vacuum their radio has no material to bouce reception off or did the Apollo drop cell phone tower's every few km so their radio would work.
    You have to have mega faith to believe in Hollywood moon landing movie's

  14. 100% absolute total lie! Look closely at the pictures look at the background. Look up Dave McGowan
    Read/listen look up Bart Sibrel Watch “a funny thing happened on the way to the Moon” all of this was a hoax

  15. yes think about it for a moment – they are on THE MOON, even Elon and other fun guys cannot pass beyond stable orbit of Earth with today's technology and been on this task for 11 years now and still no men mission to ORBIT and you saying they did it in 60s with calculator? XD Come on guys its like beyond joke this point.

  16. Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, on July 16.

    Not, "Cape Kennedy, Florida."

    Cape Kennedy became Cape Canaveral in 1973, it's true.
    But, Cape Canaveral is not the same as Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

    KSC is located on Merritt Island, seperated from Cape Canaveral by the Banana River.

    KSC is from where the space shuttle launched, and from where the Apollo moon rockets were launched.

  17. Probably the most damning and compelling evidence that NASA did not send men into space or to the Moon is supported by the fact that NASA has never been able to provide any compelling evidence that they did…

    Take a moment and think about this. After numerous failed attempts, Wilbur and Orville Wright finally made the first ever powered flight in their Kittyhawk aircraft in 1903. Eleven years later, fighter aeroplanes were being used in the 1st world war. Thirty six years after the flight of the Kittyhawk, in 1939, sophisticated fighter planes capable of great speed and maneuverability were dominating the skies during WW2. By 1942, the first jet planes had joined the fray. By the late 1950’s, some 54 years after the Wright brothers inaugural flight, jet airliners were frequently flying passengers to destinations all over the world.

    Almost 57 years after the first manned space flight, (Yuri Gagarin), and 50 years after the alleged Moon landings, (which were such a walk in the park, they did it six times), commercial passenger carrying space flights into space and to the Moon should be as normal and as frequent as commercial flights are today.

    But they’re not. And the reason they're not is because space travel is a lie.

    Final thought… The space industry is the only industry in the world that has regressed to the point of having to start again…

  18. I enjoyed it, by the way why is NASA not actually trying to land on the moon instead of making entertaining documentaries?

  19. Having “The Right Stuff” is synonymous with “Toxic Masculinity”…a prerequisite for being an Astronaut in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo Programs.

  20. This choreographed engineering feat is still amazing to me. Especially given the technology available at the time.

  21. 100% chance of success?

    Clearly Not!

    Do you expose America, humanity and the 600.000.000 spectators to succes or to a tragedy?

    What would be easier to do?

  22. 3:14 it actually had to slow itself down to enter a lunar orbit. If it didn't it would just come back to earth

  23. like the moon where always in the same position in front of the earth like a 2 dimemsional drwaing, if, if the could have scaped earth gravity 🤦🏻‍♂️

  24. Most incredible moments in history?

    Neh that was 9-11

    It looked more real then this;)
    Even Its staged!

    Why are there so many lies?!

  25. The most incredible moment was when a rocket blasts 30000 pounds of thrust and not one Speck of dust landed on the landing pads. That was really the greatest accomplishment

  26. wait so what is the space x doing when the land a rocket for the first time?isnt this the first rocket to land?

  27. Big lies need big budgets, props and people. Like what Hitler said… big lies are more believable ….. Most of the actors don't even know what they are doing. They just did what they were told, even the astronauts. Perception is a mile away from truth when it is examined closely.

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