In the Shadow of the Moon (2007) Script

I kind of have two moons in my head, I guess, whereas most people just have one moon.

I look at the Moon just like everybody else who's never been there and, you know, there it is and I've always thought it was interesting...

Whether it's full or a sliver, or what have you.

But every once in a while, I do think of a second moon, you know, the one that I recall from up close and, yeah, it is kind of hard to believe that I was actually up there.

I want to promise you, I'm human.

I pinched myself to find out whether it was really happening.

I called the Moon my home for three days of my life and I'm here to tell you about it.

That's science fiction.

My father was born shortly after the Wright brothers.

He could barely believe that I went to the Moon.

But my son, Tom, was five.

And he didn't think it was any big deal.

Lift-off, we have a lift-off.

32 minutes past the hour.

The tower is clear.

# Woke up this morning #

# With light in my eyes... #

One day, under secret orders, a group of us at the Test Pilot Center were ordered to go to Washington to get a briefing.

And they talked about the Atlas booster and putting a capsule on top of that with a man in it, Uh, to... To try to put a man into space.

And of course, at that time, the Atlas boosters were blowing up every other day down at Cape Canaveral.

# Hey Mr. Spaceman #

# Won't you please take me along #

# I won't do anything wrong #

And it looked like a very, you know, quick way to have a short career.

# ...Take me along for a ride #

# Woke up this morning #

# I was feeling quite weird #

# I had flies in my beard #

# My toothpaste was smeared #

# Over my window they'd written my name #

# Said, "So long, we'll see you again" #

# Hey Mr. Spaceman #

# Won't you please take me along #

# I won't do anything wrong #

# Hey Mr. Spaceman #

# Won't you please take # me along for a ride

Now it is time to take longer strides, time for a great new American enterprise, time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement.

Politically, it was about beating the Russians, but those of us with a science bent or a curious bent, knew it was more than that.

I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.

It was beautiful in its simplicity.

Do what? Moon!

When? End of decade!

He challenged us to do what I think most people thought was impossible, including me.

We go into space because whatever Mankind must undertake, free men must fully share.

But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the Moon.

We make this judgment affirmatively;

It will be an entire nation.

For all of us must work to put him there.

I did the usual thing of making model airplanes.

Most of them, little balsawood contraptions.

Some of them actually flew and I liked that.

So I'd been interested in mechanical objects in the sky, I guess, from as long as I could remember.

I was always awed by flight.

When I was a young lad, a barnstormer flying a World War I airplane landed on our farm and Dad helped him refuel and I got a ride, and he took me for a circle of the field and that was my first airplane ride, at about four years of age.

The Mustangs dropped their wing tanks and plunged into the fight.

Maybe it was the movies, maybe it was the real life news, but I knew that someday, sometime, that's what I wanted to do.

I knew I wanted to fly airplanes.

In '61, I had just graduated from the Test Pilot School and I had a job flying fighters in fighter tests at Edwards.

At the Flight Test Center is the fastest school in the world:

The United States Air Force Flight Test School, from whose doors upon graduation come the men destined to push back the frontiers of aeronautical knowledge.

Test pilot experience was critical.

It was a profession with a lot of esprit de corps and a lot of danger and a pioneering spirit.

And when you're at supersonic speeds and high altitudes, learning to survive that and bring your machine back down, it's the fundamental task and the higher and faster you flew, the more dangerous and more exciting it became.

I thought I had the best job in the world from the day I entered flight training until I looked on TV one day and Al Shepherd goes up in a rocket.

The rocket performs perfectly!

He's gone higher than I've ever gone and faster than I've ever gone and most important, he's made more noise doing it.

He's even on TV doing it!

How do I... How do I get that job?

"I've Got A Secret!"

Brought to you tonight by...

Dream Whip!

The light, delicious topping that won't wilt on your desserts.

Dream Whip!

Now, if you'll whisper your secret to me, Mr. And Mrs. Armstrong, We'll show it at the same time to our audience at home.

If you'll both lean in and whisper.

Everybody put their application in to every NASA request.

I mean, it was just, sort of a peer kind of thing.

So NASA put out a request for a third group of astronauts in early '63, and of course everybody in my test pilot class put their application in because it was another opportunity for a new challenge.

It certainly sounded very challenging and something that if... if other people wanted to be a part of this and this was a noble national effort, why, I wanted to be a part of it.

Now how would you feel, Mrs. Armstrong, If it turned out... Of course, nobody knows;

But if it turns out that your son is first man to land on the Moon, What... How would you feel?

Well, I guess I'd just say God bless him and I wish him the best of all good luck.

I'll bet you.

That group of astronauts was far and away the best group I had ever been associated with.

There weren't any really weak sisters in the bunch.

They were just an amazingly competent, hardworking, really good bunch of people.

One day... you're just Gene Cernan, young naval aviator, whatever, and the next day, you're an American hero.

Literally. And you have done nothing.

When Tom Wolfe wrote "The Right Stuff", I thought, "Boy! That sounds good.

People are going to think I have the right stuff!

I'm the same guy I always was, but now, I've got the right stuff!"

It's sort of an unshakeable belief in your own infallibility.

That's what the right stuff is.

That you're immortal, that you can do anything that is thrown at you.

Nobody knew really how to go to the Moon, there was a lot on paper.

And we didn't know how to do things and we didn't know how things would work.

It was just a matter of putting them together, making them work and then correcting deficiencies.

And as pilots, astronauts, why, we participated in all of these things, along with management and the engineers.

What we did in the early days was take the overall spacecraft and divide it up like a pie.

We sliced that pie up into 10 or 15 different pieces and we handed each slice to one of the astronauts and said, "This is yours, we want you to learn that slice."

We shall send to the Moon, 240,000 miles away, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, on an untried mission to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to Earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the Sun, Almost as hot as it is here today.

And do all this... And do all this and do it right and do it first, before this decade is out, then we must be bold.

I look back at Kennedy, was he a visionary, was he a dreamer, was he politically astute?

The chances are, yes, he was probably... probably all three.

We'll never know.

Nor will we ever know whether he really fully appreciated The challenge that he had laid down in front of... the American people.

And therefore, as we set sail, we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.

Things were moving very quickly and I was assigned as a back-up crew to the first Apollo mission.

Things were in sort of a turmoil, there were a lot of problems, and Gus Grissom was doing the best he could, with his crew of Ed White and Roger Chaffee, to straighten them out, try to get the spacecraft ready to fly.

We were incredibly intelligent about some of the hazards that we faced.

And we thought long and hard about them and we did everything we could to ward them off, but the business of 100% oxygen environment inside the spacecraft, we really had not thought that through.

And the wires were really bad in there.

I'd asked Gus, I said, "Gus, why don't you say something about this wiring?"

I said, "It's really terrible, they ought to do something about this wiring, it's really bad." and he said, "I don't..."

And he said, "I can't say anything about it or they'll fire me."

That's what he told me. I couldn't believe it.

The crew were conducting this test on the ground, they weren't going to fly.

I guess we, and I think of all of us in the NASA family, never gave it a second thought. what would happen if you got a spark in a 16 psi, 100% oxygen environment?

I picked up the phone and they said... "Who's this?"

I told them Alan Bean, he said, "Well, we're down here, we're doing this test and we've lost the crew."

And I said...

"Where'd they go? You've lost them?"

Because I thought they just needed to run the test and they can't find them.

"No" they said, "We've lost the crew."

I said, "Maybe they're down at the beach house."

And they said, "No, there was a fire."

And then it dawns on me that maybe they're talking about something different than I think.

We interrupt our regular programming to bring you this special report.

Here's ABC's science editor, Jules Bergman.

Top space agency officials are flying to Cape Kennedy tonight to begin the official investigation into what caused the flash fire that killed the nation's first three Apollo astronauts earlier tonight.

They died at t-minus ten minutes into a simulated launch countdown, helplessly trapped inside their spacecraft.

The accident occurred in January, the end of January 27th.

And we're burying our guys at Arlington and I wasn't sure whether we were burying the entire Apollo program or three... of our buddies.

That was the period, the late '60s, when we were fighting in Vietnam and when a lot of racial issues were going around.

I was not really in tune with what was going on in the country.

Our whole culture was changing markedly in this period.

The Civil Rights Movement, the Women's Movement, the whole movement toward a greater openness of society.

I think we were very aware of the situation in Vietnam because a lot of our friends were flying airplanes in combat in Vietnam.

And there would we have been, had we not been in the space program.

I guess I can sort of admit it now, I've admitted it a little bit to a few friends.

That... I've always had a guilt complex to some degree.

That was my war, good or bad.

Whether it was a good war or a bad war, we're not discussing that, but that was my war, to fight for my country, and my buddies were getting shot at and shot down and in some cases captured.

And I was getting my picture on the front page of the paper.

And I've always felt that they fought my war for me.

They look at it totally different.

They said, "You were doing something that this country needed more than anything else at the time.

You were part of a program, the only thing we had to hold our head high and be proud of."

1968, in this country, was a disastrous year.

We had several assassinations, Uh, not too good...

So we needed something really to cap it up that was positive, to give the American people a sense of... of accomplishment or at least satisfaction of something.

If you were a scriptwriter for the movies, you couldn't have picked a better scenario than Apollo 8!

We hear from the CIA that the Russians are going to send a spacecraft around the Moon with a person in it and upstage us.

If they orbit the Moon before we land on the Moon, then they've gotten there first.

We changed our plans on Apollo 8.

They changed the mission from an Earth orbital type to a flight to the Moon.

And it was a bold move, it had some risky aspects to it, but it was a time when we made bold moves.

The engines are off.

Four, three, two, one, zero.

We have commenced...

Apollo 8, Houston.

Your trajectory and guidance are go, over.

Thank you, Michael.

Yeah, you're looking real good...

It wasn't until we rolled over that we actually saw the Moon for the first time.

We were just 60 miles above the craters, and, you know... we were sort of like three school kids looking in a candy store window, and we forgot the flight plan, here we are, just 60 miles away.

Oh my God, look at that picture over there!

Wow, is that pretty!

You got a colour film, Jim?

Hand me a roll of colour, quick.

Just grab me a colour.

A colour exterior.

We took photographs as much as we could and, of course, we took the photograph of the famous Earth rise around the Moon and I have to credit Bill Anders for taking the picture.

Uh, he claims it all the time, anyway!

Calm down, Lovell!

Well, I got it right...

Oh, it's a beautiful shot!

And of course, Christmas Eve, being around the Moon on Christmas Eve, we thought this would be a very auspicious time to say something.

The three of us selected to read from the Old Testament, and we had it in fireproof paper in the back of our flight manual.

"In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth and the Earth was without form and void.

And darkness was upon the face of the deep.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters and God said, 'let there be light'.

And there was light."

I thought it was a very nice touch, it fit very nicely into getting away from all this machinery, and let's get down into, sort of, the fundamentals of what makes all this happen, why are we here.

I liked it.

We close with good night, good luck;

A merry Christmas and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.

When we came back, there was a lady in Dallas, Texas, who was an atheist, and I don't have anything against atheists, but she sued us.

For the mixing of... Church and State, and she said that was inappropriate.

Maybe it was, I don't know.

At that time, we were all practicing to go to the Apollo 11 site, Sea of Tranquillity.

Because we had three different crews training.

Apollo 11 was going to make the try in July and then two months later, we'd make it if they didn't make it, and then if we didn't make it, two months later in November, Apollo 13.

So we had three chances to get to the Moon by the end of the decade.

And so when Neil and Buzz and Mike were assigned to Apollo 11 we knew they were going to make the first shot.

They were a really, really good crew, they got along really well.

Mike was always the easy-going guy who brought levity into things.

And I felt kind of bad that he wasn't going to have the opportunity of being to...

Being able to be in a Lunar Lander and make a landing, but that was a decision that... certainly was way over my head.

One guy had to stay in the command module and the other two were going to go to the Moon and I was... Pigeonholed, if that's the right word, as a command module pilot and so that...

I lost my chance of... of walking on the Moon but in return for that, I gained a chance to...

A: Fly to the Moon and perhaps be a member of the first crew to land on the Moon.

One thing I know about Buzz, he's one of these guys that's a lot smarter than most of us.

He had a nickname, Dr. Rendezvous.

He loves to talk about technical stuff, particularly rendezvous.

I mean, he'll get this orbit going this way and that orbit going the other way and he really grooved on those things.

You didn't want to sit near him in a party because he would start talking about rendezvous.

And you would want to be talking about that good-looking girl across the room.

He could care less, he wanted to talk about rendezvous.

And he'd been talking to you about it all... all week long.

That's right, that was what I was really interested in.

I always respected Neil Armstrong highly.

He was probably the coolest under pressure of anyone that I had ever had the privilege of flying with.

He was just Mr. Coolstone, if you will.

One of the oddities in Neil's training was this thing we lovingly called "the flying bedstead".

It was an ungainly- looking contraption and it was meant to imitate the L.M., the Lunar Module.

Neil, he and I were in adjoining offices, same secretary.

I remember one day I came in in the morning, I run into a couple of guys, they say, "Do you know that Neil bailed out of the LLTV this morning?"

I said, "no way." He said, whoever it was, Two or three guys said, "Yeah!"

I said, "Okay, I'm going in there and ask him."

So I go in there and Neil...

Neil's fooling around, nothing going on.

I said, "those guys out in the office Said you bailed out of the LLTV this morning."

He said, "Yeah."

That was all he said, "Yeah."

I mean this guy had been a second and a half from being killed and that was it.

He didn't say, "I nearly got killed", "I nearly, you know..." I don't know what we...

"Yeah." That was it, that was it!

I mean, what was he supposed to do?

I mean, maybe he could have gone out and gotten roaring drunk or something but that's not Neil, you know?

He went back and shuffled paper. That's what you had to do.

You know, the program goes on!

Tomorrow we, the crew of Apollo 11, are...

privileged to represent the United States in our first attempt to take Man to another heavenly body.


Well, I'd given up smoking the pipe maybe three weeks before launch.

That's my best recollection, maybe having a drink, three days before.

I don't think anybody really slept too well the night before, you're just wondering about whether you can... get enough rest for what you need to possibly do.

This is CBS News colour coverage of...

Sponsored by Kellogg's.

Kellogg's puts more in your morning.

Here from CBS News Apollo headquarters at Kennedy Space Center, correspondent Walter Cronkite.

Good morning.

It's t-minus one hour, 29 minutes and 53 seconds and counting.

In just an hour and a half, if all goes well, Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins are to lift off from pad 39-a out there, on the voyage Man always has dreamed about.

Next stop for them: The Moon.

Well, on launch days, it's kind of strange, you go out in a van to the launch pad, and you're... you're kind of used to that.

Riding in a van is the American way, so that's not a problem.

When you get out to the base of this gigantic gantry, it's... it's empty, there's nobody there, it's deserted.

And you're accustomed to scores of workers, you know, swarming like ants all up and down and around it, and, you know, you're in with a crowd of people.

And then suddenly there's nobody there and you think, "God, you know, maybe they know something I don't know!"

We got out there to the launch pad.

So I had about ten minutes to look out and see the Sun rise, see the waves coming in and see the evidence of the people out on the side.

Just... And thinking about the fact that this was something I wanted to remember.

So it is now, before they go, as their gleaming vehicle sits poised and peaceful out there behind me on pad 39-a, that there is time to think of those three men and the burdens and the hopes that they carry on behalf of all Mankind.

I had the feeling the whole world was watching us.

So, not only do I have a lot of things I can do wrong, but the consequences should I do them wrong are going to be immediately obvious to three billion people and... that's a worrisome thought.

T-minus ten minutes and counting, t-minus ten.

We're aiming for our planned lift-off at 32 minutes past the hour.

This is Kennedy launch control.

I don't know why people who have not been on rockets continue to ask "You were not scared?"

No, we were not scared!

Until something happens, then it's time to get scared.

We're just past the two minute mark in the countdown, t-minus 1 minute, 54 seconds.

The countdown is a very negative thing.

You just hope nothing goes wrong.

You think, "oh, whoosh, we got by that one and maybe we'll get by that one..." and then when you get very close to launch, suddenly, it's like someone turned on a big electric light bulb, You think, "You know, I think we're really going to go, you know, I think it's going to happen. We're going to leave!"

30 seconds and counting.

Astronauts report it feels good.

T-minus 25 seconds...

20 seconds and counting.

T-minus 15 seconds.

Guidance is internal.

12, 11, 10, 9...

Ignition sequence starts.

Six, five, four, Three, two, one, zero.

At the moment of lift-off, There were numbers changing on the dashboard, there were sounds indicating in the voice loop that we'd had lift-off, but what did we feel?

I think we felt, in those early moments, that we were not attached to the ground any more, but there was a slight hunting, maybe, of the guidance system.

I'd describe it as a nervous novice driving a wide car down a narrow alley.

You know, you've got to make corrections, you're not quite sure.

You zig this way and that way...

And what it is, it's those big motors underneath

"gimbaling", you know, swivelling back and forth to keep you in balance.

This thing is a pencil as it goes up and it has to be balanced very precisely.

And the gimbaling of the motors, you feel in the seat of your pants and thinking, "Gee, that launch tower is just a few feet off to one side.

I hope this sucker ain't gonna gimbal over in that direction too much."

And then when they tell you launch tower clear, you kind of say, "Oh, whoosh, that's good. We don't have to worry about hitting that moose."

And then off you go from there.

Will metal stand this kind of vibration?

Have the engineers realized how this thing shakes?

Because it shakes and vibrates so much more than I ever imagined.

When they open up the fuel manifolds, we could hear the fuel rumble down these huge pipes.

Then it dawned on me, from an emotional point of view, that we're going to go to the Moon.

The sound and the reverberations coming from those engines, those five engines when they're ignited, it shakes the whole body, the reverberations from it.

It's very emotional.

You're not just riding along.

A lot of people think you're just lying on your back waiting for it to happen.

But not really, because every second is something of significance.

I found out from the flight surgeon later on that my heartbeat was a 144 at lift-off.

John's was 70.

Yeah, well, I told him.

I said mine was too old to go any faster. Yeah.

I was wondering, why did we do all these launch simulations?

If I had had to reach a switch with all of that vibration going on I wouldn't have quite been sure where I was putting my hand.

We were on our way.

What a ride, babe, what a ride!

I had control of that vehicle right in the palm of my hands.

If the guidance failed or started to stray or went somewhere we didn't like, or the Ground didn't like, I could flip a switch and I could control seven... over seven and a half million pounds of rocket thrust with this handle and fly the thing to the Moon myself.

And I guarantee you, I had practiced it and trained for it so many times, I almost dared...

I almost dared her to quit on me.

Every breath she breathed, I breathed with her.

She was uniquely something special and what a hell of a ride she gave us.

We had been warned about shutdown with the Saturn because you go from four and a half Gs to zero just like that.

And this big fireball comes roaring up the length of that booster...

And just... Out in front of you then the second stage fires and you fly right through the fireball and you're on your way again.

Roger, Houston, you are go for staging.

Houston, thrusters go, all engines.

You're looking good.

Roger, hearing you loud and clear, Houston.

Tower's gone.

Roger, tower.

Yeah! They finally gave me a window to look out!

You go up into Earth orbit and you go around the Earth once and again that's a busy time, because you want to make sure that everything on board is working properly before you set sail for the Moon.

Apollo 11, this is Houston.

You are go for TLI. Over.

Apollo 11, thank you.

And then you get the word you're go for TLI and that means you can ignite the motor and head on off to the Moon and you do, and you go, and that's it!


We confirm ignition and the thrust is go.

Just a second.

Apollo 11, out.

35,000 feet per second.

Get out.

Climb velocity 35,570 feet per second.

Altitude, 177 nautical miles.

Houston, Apollo 11, that Saturn gave us a magnificent ride.

Uh, roger, 11, we'll pass that on.

And it kind of looks like you're on your way now.

In Earth orbit, the horizon's just slightly curved.

When you head on out to the Moon, in very short order, and you get a chance to look back at the Earth, that horizon slowly curves around in upon itself and all of a sudden, you're looking at something... that's very strange but yet is very, very familiar because you're beginning to see the Earth evolve.

I was able to look out the window to see this incredible sight of the whole circle of the Earth.

Oceans were crystal blue, the land was brown, and the clouds and the snow were pure white and that jewel of Earth was just hung up in the blackness of space.

The only people that have seen the whole circle of the Earth are the 24 guys that went to the Moon.

When you see Earth like that, it's powerful.

Not... Not even bigger than that, way up there.

How peaceful and calm and quiet and serene it looked, how fragile it appeared.

That was the... oddly enough... the overriding sensation I got looking at the Earth was, "My God, that little thing is so fragile out there."

You get to see the Earth receding, you get to see the Moon coming towards you...

And it's awe-inspiring.

And you start to identify, "Hey, we're going to be up there pretty soon, and, bye-bye, back there."

This transmission is coming to you approximately halfway between the Moon and the Earth.

We've been 31 hours, about 20 minutes into flight.

We have about, uh, less than 40 hours left to go to the Moon.

We journeyed on our way.

We set up a course, we took our suits off at this point, stowed them, we ate a meal and then just went into our flight plan.

You know, wasn't Grandma's cooking, but it was worth it.

We did have hot water on the command module and so we took, uh... a regular little shaving cream and a razor and had a tissue paper, And I can't tell you how good, after three or four days, it feels to shave.

In our checklist, it turned out that my little boys and my wife, had these little greetings, if you will, were inserted into the flight plan.

This one was from my son, Charles.

It says, just in crayon, "From Charles. We love you."

And on the other side, he sort of had his idea of what the... Lunar Module looks like.

And Tom, that was not quite five, and he wrote "Dear Daddy, have a safe trip home. Love, Tom."

It's not fear, it's worry.

And I think there's a legitimate distinction between the two.

So, it's not a question of you're scared all the time, but it is you're mildly worried all the time, or at least, I was.

You know, you're not sure all these things are going to work properly, and there's a hell of a lot of them coming in a very fragile daisy-chain and you don't want any of those links in the chain to break because downstream from that broken link, they're all useless.

So yes, you're worried, you're concerned.

I always thought of myself as one of the more fearful astronauts, really.

And when I'd look out of the window of the spacecraft, I would think, "If that window blows out, I'm going to die in about a second."

There's death right out there about an inch away.

All your systems are looking good.

Going around the corner.

We'll see you on the other side, over.

Everything looks okay up here.

Roger, out.

We... We didn't see the Moon until after we were there.

It's like some of these science-fiction movies where you see this big meteorite just slowly moving.

You could feel the Moon's presence.

You couldn't see it.

We went into darkness, after being in daylight the whole time on the way to the Moon.

And then we went into darkness.

And we're in the shadow of the Moon.

When the Sun is shining on the surface at a very shallow angle, the craters cast long shadows and the Moon's surface seems very inhospitable.

Forbidding, almost.

I did not sense any great invitation on the part of the Moon for us to come into its domain.

I sensed more, almost a hostile place...

A... a scary place.

It was tense, because even though they'd practiced it in the simulator cockpit, they didn't always make a successful landing.

You've got to end up down there with just the right amount of fuel.

Like, three minutes, you've got to be at a certain altitude and air speed.

It didn't work...

Sometimes the update from the landing radar didn't work, and this was when we were trying to do it right, just to find a way to do it right.

This was a big deal.

Okay, it's go there, Capcom, on the hot fire, okay?

All flight controllers going on the horn.

Go, no-go for undocking!

Retro? Go! Fido? Go! Guidance? Go!

Control? Go! Delcom? Go! GNC? Go!

Ecom? Go! Surgeon? Go!

Capcom, we're go for undocking.

Apollo 11, Houston, We're go for undocking, over.

Capcom was the capsule communicator and it was always an astronaut. and he was the only one that was allowed to speak directly to the crew.

Tell him to go... over.

And so I was very, very excited to be part of that historic event.

If... we pulled it off, was going to be a tremendous honour.

Capcom, we're go to continue PDI.

You're go to...

You're go to continue powered descent.

You're go to continue powered descent.

Okay, everybody. Let's hang tight, look for landing radar.

Flight guns?

Man 1:

We'll meet that landing radar by 18,000 with this down-track.


The landing radar was now beginning to receive signals and being Dr. Rendezvous, no matter what the checklist said, I was going to leave the rendezvous radar on and active so if we had to abort, it was on and working and we could reacquire mic as soon as possible if we had to go back up.

Houston, we got data dropout, you're still looking good.

Then we had a computer alarm.

"Computer Problem, 1202".

And well, what's 1202?

1202, 1202!

So when the crew reported this alarm, my heart sank, really.

"Oh no, we've got a main, primary computer problem.

1202 alarm.

Yeah, and same thing we had.

So the landing radar is feeding information, the rendezvous radar is, and evidently that combination was not anticipated by the guys at M.I.T.

They're pretty narrow-minded.

You're making a descent, you need the radar, landing radar!

You're making a rendezvous, you need the rende...

But you don't need to mix the two.

But they didn't think the same way I did.

The guidance guy, Steve Bales, responded...

We're go on that flight!

I heard him say that to flight control and I just voiced right up, "We're go, we're go, Eagle."

And we were go.

Eagle, Houston, you are go for landing, over.

Roger, understand.

Going for landing, 3000 feet.

Look out for alarm: 1201.


Roger, 1201.

Same type, we're go, flight.

Okay, we're go. We're go.

Same type, we're go.

47 degrees.


Descent, two fuel only.

Fuel critical. They didn't want to say critical.

And then it seemed like Neil was having a difficult time finding a suitable spot to put it down and I got a little worried then because they didn't have a lot of extra fuel.

I think we better be quiet, Mike.

400 feet, down at 9.

Okay, the only call-outs from now on will be fuel.

The guidance system was carrying them into a big boulder field and it wasn't suitable to land.

So we noticed the trajectory level off and he just started flying almost horizontal across the Moon at a high rate of speed.

One of the worst things you can do for gas is stop your rate of descent because then you have to take time flying level, then you have to get your rate of descent built up again.

All that takes gas, okay?

So when he levelled off, I thought, "I wonder if he's going to make it."

If... If there was a boulder field and a crater that we wanted to avoid, there are four things you can do.

You can land short, you can land left, right, or land long.

All right, to land short, you've got to pitch up like this and you lose sight of where you're going.

And... Either left or right is also a pretty drastic manoeuvre.

The easiest thing to do is to just pitch forward a little bit and fly over and land long.

Some of these boulders were the size of Volkswagens and you don't want to land with one gear on top of one and one gear down in a hole.

That would not have been good.

So, it was a little... Iffy right there at the very end.

We had two calls that we were to give from mission control.

The first was "Eagle, 60 seconds", that meant he got 60 more seconds to land and at the end of that 60 seconds, by mission rule, I would call abort.

I never imagined that he wasn't going to land by then because I think he would have dropped it in from wherever the engine quit.

He wasn't coming home and saying, "I got low on fuel so I decided to abandon it."

I don't think any astronaut would do that, that wouldn't be the right stuff!

300 feet down. Three and a half. 47 forward.

Neil thinks things through thoroughly and then does what he thinks is right and usually it's the right thing to do.

I don't think anybody can come close to touching the skills that he had.

75 feet, just down a half. Roger, over.

60. 60 seconds.

The tension mounted in mission control and it was like you could feel it.

You couldn't see it, but you could sense the tension.

And it was... I remember dead silence.

Three feet down, two and a half.

Picking up some dust.

Three feet, two and a half down.

Pull forward. Just into the right a little.

30 seconds!

Contact light.

Okay, engines stop.


Remote control, both on.

Descent engine Command override off.

Engine arm off.

413 is in.

We've had shut down.

We copy you down, Eagle.

Okay, everybody, t-1, stand by for t-1.

Tranquillity Base here.

The Eagle has landed!

Roger, twang... Tranquillity, We copy you on the ground.

You've got a bunch of guys about to turn blue.

We're breathing again, thanks a lot.

Thank you.

I was so excited, I couldn't even get out "Tranquillity".

It was "twang-quillity" or something like that.

Whew! Boy!

Special announcement!

You will be happy to know that the Apollo 11 has landed safely.

I think it's just wonderful to be on Earth and to live what's going on on the Moon.

It's marvellous!

And as a French woman, how do you think about it?

Oh, I think it's wonderful.

I always trusted America and I knew they couldn't fail.

I think we might have gone and had a beer.

But I...

So we were real happy and it was...

Real pleased we'd done it and so it was a great feeling of accomplishment and pride, For the... President Kennedy and for the nation, we did what we said we were going to do.

Roger. We read you five-by, Columbia.

He has landed. Tranquillity Base.

Eagle is at Tranquillity, over.

Yeah, I heard the whole thing!

Well, it was a good show.


I discovered later that I was described as the loneliest man ever in the universe or something, which really is a lot of baloney.

I mean, I... I had mission control yakking in my ear half the time.

Columbia, Houston. How did it go? Over.

Listen, babe, everything is going just swimmingly, it's beautiful.

I rather enjoyed it.

I certainly was aware of the fact that I was by myself, particularly when I was over on the back side of the Moon.

You know, I can remember thinking, "God, you look over there and there's 3 billion people, plus two, somewhere down there, and then over here there's one plus...

God only knows what!"

So, I... I know I felt that strongly, but I didn't feel it as loneliness and I certainly didn't feel it as fear, I felt it as awareness, almost a feeling of exaltation.

I... I liked it. It was a good feeling.

Everything was going well with the command module, I had my happy little home, I had the bright lights on.

Everything was fine. I enjoyed that time.

They're going to probably open the hatch of the Lunar Module around 9:00 o'clock Eastern Daylight time, just two hours from now and shortly after that, 38-year-old Neil Armstrong, civilian, of Wapakoneta, Ohio, the Commander of this successful Moon mission will begin to step down the nine steps of the Lunar landing Module to the surface of the Moon itself.

And what a moment that will be!

And we're getting a picture on the TV.

There's a great deal of contrast in it and currently, it's upside down on our monitor but we can make out a fair amount of detail.

I realised, of all the science-fiction writers who ever wrote about going to the Moon, I don't believe any of them ever dreamed about the world watching it on television.

Neil, this is Houston, loud and clear. Break, break, Buzz, this is Houston, Uh, radio check, and verify TV circuit breaker.

Roger, TV circuit breaker's in.

Okay, Neil, we can see you coming down the ladder now.

Every place I go, everybody I see, meet, even people who were children, tiny babies at the time, watched Neil put his first step on the Moon, the whole world participated.

...Que I'homme pour la premiere fois, prenne pied sur la lune.

Les Russes sont loin... naturellement.

Stand by.

I'm at the foot of the ladder.

The L.M. footpads are only, uh...

Depressed in the surface about... one or two inches, although the surface appears to be very, very fine-grained as you get close to it.

It's almost like a powder down there.

It's very fine.

Okay, I'm going to step off the L.M. now.

That's one small step for Man...

One giant leap for Mankind.

"That's one small step for Man, One giant leap for Mankind."

It was like Neil, but deeper than I thought that he would come up with.

I wouldn't have had the self-control to do that.

I'd have...

To me, I'd have been jumping up and down, "Yahoo!" You know? "Man, I'm here!"

It was... That's the kind of response that I think I would have had.

But he was very, very controlled and those words came out and they were very appropriate and... Perfect.

That looks beautiful from here, Neil.

It has a stark beauty all its own, it's like much of the high desert of the United States.

It's different but it's very pretty out here.

We had it in our flight plan that we'd take the first 10-15 seconds down at the bottom of the ladder, sort of hold on to the edge of the landing gear and just sort of check our stability and so forth.

Okay, I'm on the top steps and it's a very simple matter to hop down from one step to the next.

So that's when I decided to take that period of time to, ah...


Take care of a bodily function of slightly filling up the urine bag, so that I wouldn't be troubled with having to do that later on.

There you go.

So, anyway, everybody has their firsts on the Moon.

And that one hasn't been disputed by anybody.

The only change that I noticed they made prior to their flight was they'd come to them about a month ahead of time, as I remember.

And they said to them, "You're going to plant the American flag."

So, we got the flag out and put it in the ground and we'd never really practiced that one before.

Here we were on the surface and I knew this was what people were watching.

More people were watching us than had ever watched two human beings before in history and yet we're further away, not just in distance but in things we've got to do to get back home.

We've got to do some difficult things to get out of this desolate place and get back home again.

Thank you, 13.

13, we've got one more item for you when you get a chance.

We'd like you to stir up your cryo tanks.

Stand by.

When the explosion occurred, of course, I didn't know what happened.

Houston, we've had a problem.

Stand by 13, we're looking at it.

We saw the oxygen go to zero And then come up to the top and then went down to zero again.

We were in serious trouble.

I thought when I saw that oxygen system leaking down, I figured we'd lost them. I really did.

I didn't think we'd make it.

We were as calm as could be.

We didn't panic. Uh, if we did, we'd still be up there, or we could have bounced off the walls for ten minutes and be back where we started from.

So the first thing that went through our mind was:

"What do we have to work with to get home?"

And of course, we had the Lunar Module.

It was like, abandon ship, get into the lifeboat and we'll come back in the lifeboat.

We figure we've got about 15 minutes worth of power left in the Command Module so we want you to start getting over in the L.M., and getting some power in it.

And you ready to copy your procedure?


I worked on the problem of using the Lunar Module as the prime propulsion vehicle, as a tugboat. and how they could fly it manually, stick and rudder stuff, if they'd lost the prime guidance system.

John and I, with others, had worked on this manoeuvre to get them back on what was called a free return trajectory, so they would come back and come right back into Earth's atmosphere on the correct angle and velocity.

Apollo 13, 2 minutes away now from scheduled time of ignition.

And so we used the Earth's terminator to figure out our attitude, we had to get the Earth in the window of the Lunar Module.

Confirmed ignition.

I knew when that engine went on, without an autopilot, I'd never be able to keep the Earth in the window by myself, so Fred-O kept the Earth from going sideways, I kept it from going up and down...

I had to learn to... manoeuvre all over again in a very short period of time.

But you'd be surprised how quickly you learn.

Houston, you're looking good.

My attitude went from, "We ain't going to make it" to, "If we don't foul up and they don't foul up, and we don't have any other disaster, we're going to make it."

It was NASA's greatest moment, I'm convinced.

And that crew, to keep calm and responsive and do things right the first time, that's important, it was just great. They were great.

It was a case of survival and certainly landing on the Moon and surviving to see the next sunrise are two different things.

And it wasn't until I got comfortably back on Earth that I became very much disappointed in not making a landing on the Moon.

Boy, that's a big mountain when you're down here looking up, isn't it?

We all of a sudden realized that we were below the tops of the mountains.

I can't believe it. Amazing!

And then I look out at the horizon and I thought to myself, "God, I hope Pete doesn't land over there because we'll tip over."

Here comes the shadow.

We were blowing lunar dust everywhere.

It was like landing through the fog.

Well, we is here!

Man, is we here! How's that look?

And if there's any one moment in my whole flight when time stood still, it was those first few seconds when we touched down and everything came to a screeching halt.

And there we were.

The first feelings were, "Wow, this is, uh... What am I doing here?

This is a different world!"

And, uh, there's a part of it of...

"You dumb ass... You've really got yourself into something here!"

When you land on the Moon and you stop, and you get out, nobody's out there.

This little L.M. and then the two of you, you're it, on this whole big place.

And that's a weird feeling, it's a weird feeling to be...

Two people and that's it.

Oh, my golly. Unbelievable!


But is it bright in the Sun.

Oh, look at that.

Isn't that something?

We're up on a slope, Joe, and we're looking back down into the valley.

It's beautiful. That is spectacular.

Dad, this is really a rock and rolling ride, isn't it?

Never been on a ride like this before.

The Rover was very useful, very comfortable ride for the most part, but any time you hit a bump in one-sixth gravity, you're going to be off the surface for a little ways.

I hold the world's speed record downhill in a Rover.

I think it was 17 kilometres per hour, downhill.

I think even Gene Cernan with all his test pilot macho felt that that was a little fast!

There are a lot of craters and it's just sporty driving.

I've just got to keep my eye on the road every second.

What really saves you up there is there's nobody coming down the road from the other way.

Oh, look at this baby climb the hill.

I think the feeling that I had was the whole time was the feeling of awe.

The Moon was the most spectacularly beautiful desert you can ever imagine.

Unspoiled, untouched.

It had a vibrancy about it and the contrast between the Moon and the black sky was so vivid and...

It just made this impression, you know, of excitement and wonder.

We were true scientific explorers.

We were looking at things that human beings had never seen before or if they had seen them, they weren't thinking about them in terms of understanding our Earth and our solar system and indeed the universe.

And that's what we were. That's what we were doing.

We were scientific explorers right from the moment we stepped out of the spacecraft.

Roger, Dave. Let's do a little geology.

Going to document the area first here, Joe.

If you come around there, there's a rock in the near field on this rim...

I'd like you to pick it up as a ground sample.

I say, John, just look at that footprint.

Look underneath that when you picked that up.

...a centimetre or so under, it's white!

Absolutely white right here.

Gee, you got a bag?

All set.

Okay, I'm going to get the... shadowed material...

Look, this is a real beauty!

I didn't have any great feeling of...

"Oh, we've done it!"

I mean, we've done part of it, but, uh...

I was a lot more worried, I guess, about getting them up off the Moon than I was about getting them down onto the Moon.

The motor on the Lunar Module was one motor and if something went wrong with it, you know, they were dead men, there was no other way for them to leave.

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States.

Good evening, my fellow Americans.

Tonight, I want to talk to you on a subject of deep concern to all Americans and to many people in all parts of the world.

"Fate has ordained that the men who went to the Moon to explore in peace will stay on the Moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery, but they also know that there is hope for Mankind In their sacrifice."

I mean, this is, you know...

What a public relations person would have to say.

Nine, eight, seven, six, five...

Port stage, engine arm, ascent, proceed.

Beautiful. 26-36 feet per second up.


Very smooth.

Balance couple, off.

Very quiet ride.

Eagle, Houston request manual start override.

2600 feet altitude.

Eagle, Houston, one minute. You are looking good.

Oh God, look... It's beautiful.

It's a beautiful little thing, you see the L.M., you know, a little golden bug down there among the craters and it gets slowly bigger and bigger.

They seem to be, you know, like riding rails, they were very precise.

And then it got right up next to me and then it was my job, as before, to make the connection between the two vehicles.

Finally, they got back into the command module and I grabbed Buzz by both ears and I was going to kiss him on the forehead, I can remember that. and I got him to right about here and I said, "That's not a very... good thing to do somehow," so I forgot, whether I clapped him on the back or shook his hand or did something.

And again, you don't have time to sit around and reminisce because you've got T.E.I. coming up in another... little while, so you've got to get ready for that and come home.

The biggest joy was on the way home.

In my cockpit window, every two minutes, the Earth, the Moon, the Sun and a whole 360 degree panorama of the heavens.

And that was a powerful, overwhelming experience.

And suddenly I realized that the molecules of my body and the molecules of the spacecraft and the molecules in the bodies of my partners were prototyped and manufactured in some ancient generation of stars.

And that was an overwhelming sense of oneness, of connectedness.

It wasn't them and us, it was, "that's me, that's all of it, it's one thing."

And it was accompanied by an ecstasy, a sense of, "oh my God. wow, yes," an insight, an epiphany.

Re-entry is very critical on Apollo.

The last time I looked at my computer, we were accelerating through 39,000 feet per second, which is... uh, translates to over 26,000 miles an hour.

A rifle bullet only goes 2000 miles an hour.

You are literally on fire.

Your heat shield is on fire and it's streaming...

Its fragments are streaming out behind you.

It's like being inside a gigantic light bulb.

The re-entry started at 400,000 feet, and by the time you've got to 90,000 feet, you're basically coming straight down, freefall.

Well, then the final link in the daisy chain is the... is, well, there... Actually, I guess I'd have to say there may be two more, but, uh... the important one is that the parachutes open.

Mains coming out, huge explosion again and these three chutes come out.

The three orange and white spheres of reassurance.

That was the end.

That was the last of the daisy...

Well, then we had to get out.

I can remember the beautiful water.

You know, we were out in the deep ocean in the Pacific.

It was such a startling violet colour.

I remember looking at the ocean and admiring, "Nice ocean you got here, planet Earth."

To me, the marvel of it is that it all worked like clockwork, I almost said like magic.

There might be a little magic mixed up in the back of that big clock somewhere...

Because everything worked as it was supposed to.

Nobody messed up.

Even I didn't make mistakes.

I knew that anyone who was on the first lunar landing was certainly going to be propelled into the public view in an enormous way.

That awareness was troublesome and interfered during the mission.

But it's nothing like what happens after the mission and for the rest of your life.

You are the person now, not just an average fighter pilot, who did this and that pretty well, but, "This guy walked on the Moon."

And now I have to sort of uphold that image for the rest of my life, no matter what I do.

Can't think of a negative thing about Neil Armstrong.

I think it's wonderful that he's been the first man on the Moon.

Even though he's somewhat reclusive, then that helps to preserve the image.

That's a tough role.

I'm glad... I'd love to do that, but I'd hate to try to fill that role.

That's a tough role.

Yeah... Boy!

After the flight of Apollo 11, the three of us went on an around-the-world trip.

Wherever we went, people, instead of saying, "Well, you Americans did it,"

Everywhere, they said, "We did it.

We Humankind, we the Human race, we, people, did it."

And, I had never heard of, um... people in different countries use this word "We, we, we" as emphatically as we were hearing from Europeans, Asians, Africans...

Wherever we went, it was, "We finally did it!"

And I thought that was a wonderful thing.

Ephemeral, but wonderful.

I felt that I was literally standing on a plateau somewhere out there in space, a plateau that science and technology had allowed me to get to.

But now, what I was seeing and even more important, what I was feeling at that moment in time, science and technology had no answers for.

Literally no answers, because there I was and there you are... there you are, the Earth, dynamic, overwhelming and I felt that the world... there's just too much purpose, too much logic and it was just too beautiful to have happened by accident.

There has to be somebody bigger than you and bigger than me and I mean this in a spiritual sense not a religious sense.

There has to be a creator of the universe who stands above the religions that we ourselves create to govern our lives.

A friend of ours got us to go to a Bible study at a tennis club.

And after that weekend, I said to Jesus, I said, "I give you my life and if you're real, come into my life."

And I believe and he did and I had...

I had this sense of peace that was... that was hard to describe.

It was so dramatic that we started sharing our story.

I say, my walk on the Moon lasted three days and it was a great adventure, but my walk with God lasts forever.

I think if you do something that's drastically different like flying to the Moon and coming back again, everyone tells you how important it is, how wonderful it is and how important, important, important.

Then by comparison a lot of other things that used to seem important don't seem quite as much so.

And I'm not saying that I'm able to face life with greater equanimity because I've flown to the Moon, but I try to.

And maybe some of our terrestrial squabbles don't seem as important after having flown to the Moon than they did before.

We learned a lot about the Moon but what we really learned was about the Earth.

The fact that just from the distance of the Moon you could put your thumb up, and you can hide the Earth behind your thumb.

Everything that you have ever known...

Your loved ones, your business, the problems of the Earth itself, all behind your thumb.

And how insignificant we really all are.

But then how fortunate we are to have this body and to be able to enjoy living here amongst the beauty of the Earth itself.

It truly is an oasis and we don't take very good care of it.

And I think the elevation of that awareness is a real contribution to, you know, saving the Earth, if you will.

Earth has changed a lot since we started flying in Gemini.

There's a lot of things like urban pollution and you can see that when you hit orbit now.

You can see the big cities all have their own set of unique atmospheres, They really do.

We ought to be looking out for our kids and our grandkids and what are we worried about?

The price of a gallon of gasoline, you know, in the United States, they're worried about $3 a gallon gas.

I said, that's awful, you know?

Since that time, I have not complained about the weather one single time.

I'm glad there is weather.

I've not complained about traffic, I'm glad there's people around.

One of the things that I did when I got home, I went down to shopping centres and I'd just go around there, get an ice cream cone or something and just watch the people go by and think, "Boy, we're lucky to be here, why do people complain about the Earth?"

We are living in the Garden of Eden!

As I look back, if I use one word, I would use the word "luck".

I just feel very lucky.

You know, Neil Armstrong was born in 1930, Buzz Aldrin was born in 1930, Mike Collins was born in 1930.

I mean how lucky can you get?

We just happened along at the right time.

I feel blessed every single day.

Not a day goes by that I don't think, "This is great, this was wonderful..."

Somebody had to go and they happened to pick me, so it is great.

You know, some of the tabloids are saying that we did this In a hanger in Arizona.

Maybe that would have been a good idea!

I don't know how I would... grab someone by the collar who didn't believe, and shake them and somehow change their mind.

Any significant event in history, somebody's had a conspiracy theory one way or the other.

I don't know two Americans who have a fantastic secret without one of them blurting it out to the Press!

Can you imagine thousands of people able to keep this secret?

We've been to the Moon nine times.

I mean, why did we fake it nine times...

If we faked it?

Truth needs no defence.

Nobody, nobody...

Can ever take those footsteps I made on the surface of the Moon away from me.