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Apollo 11 Mission Commentary, Transcript, July 20, 1969

Astronauts in the Eagle, the manned module of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Apollo 11 lunar mission, fulfilled the United States’ goal of reaching the moon within a decade. Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. made the landing; Michael Collins piloted the command module that returned the astronauts to Earth on July 24, 1969.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Apollo 11 Mission Commentary, Transcript, July 20, 1969

Race to the Moon

In the 1950s the United States and the Soviet Union both began programs for manned and unmanned scientific missions into space. Spurred by the Soviets’ successful 1957 launch of the unmanned Sputnik 1 satellite, Congress initiated the U.S. civilian space program. Winning the space race became a political, scientific, and security priority, intensified after President John F. Kennedy and Congress set a national goal of being first to send an astronaut to the moon.

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 earth.

- President John F. Kennedy, “Urgent National Needs” Speech, May 25, 1961