July 20, 1969: Moon Landing Anniversary

July 20, 1969: Moon Landing Anniversary

Forty-five years ago on July 20, 1969, a tiny space capsule containing two American men landed on the moon. Six hours later, the world watched as astronaut Neil Armstrong set his lunar-boot-clad foot onto the moon’s surface. No one alive at the time can forget that live broadcast, the astronauts’ jerky, bouncing movements, their crackling static-y voices and the mind-boggling knowledge that right that very moment, people were walking on our moon.


Racing into SpaceIt seemed like the culmination and crowning glory of the Space Race, and it seemed that the U.S. had won. Even though a Soviet craft got there first, crash-landing the Luna 2 on the surface ten years earlier and peppering some of the craters with stainless steel USSR emblems, the U.S. space program had successfully landed the first humans, and brought them back again.

MIR travelers witness the launch of a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur, Kazakhstan Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

MIR travelers witness the launch of a Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur, Kazakhstan
Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

Rocketing into Space45 years later, it’s the Russian space program that launches people up to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Russian space facility in Kazakhstan, Baikonur Cosmodrome. Its Soyuz rockets have been singlehandedly flying scientists, cosmonauts and even space tourists to the ISS since 2011, when NASA’s last space shuttle, Atlantis, retired.

NASA is currently evaluating new designs for the shuttle’s successor space vehicle. Private companies are scrambling to enter the field of space flight. But for now the Soyuz is the only game in town.


Travel to the Soviet Space Facility with MIRYou can see a Soyuz launch up close on MIR’s Inside the Russian Space Program, enjoying unparalleled access to VIP viewing areas and briefing sessions in Baikonur and the opportunity to train like a cosmonaut in Moscow.

 (Top photo credit: National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Here astronaut Neil Armstrong steps on the moon.)

PUBLISHED: July 18, 2014

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