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The NASA Collection


Nothing in history has gripped the American imagination quite like space exploration. The Space Age, kicked into high speed during the Cold War, is one of the most definitive eras in our history, marked by some of the greatest technological and scientific accomplishments in the world. To this day, the US has remained the first and only country to put a man on the moon.

The moon landing was one of many missions conducted by NASA’s Apollo program from 1969 to 1972. The program began in early 1960 during President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration. Driven by political pressure to surpass the Soviet Union in arms and technology, Eisenhower’s successor, John F. Kennedy, turned his eyes to the moon: In 1961, he announced Apollo’s new, highly ambitious goal of sending a man to the moon and returning him safely to Earth before the decade’s end.

As history tells us, Apollo accomplished this and much more. The program conducted a total of 18 missions in its lifetime, 11 of which were successful manned flights into space and six of which were lunar expeditions. The moon landing occurred on July 16, 1969, as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin famously stepped off Apollo 11 with “one small step for man, one giant step for mankind.” Technologies used by Apollo, such as computer designs and missile programs, spurred further advancement for decades to come, and the first photos of Earth from space became symbolically significant to the growing environmental movement in the ‘70s.

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