One Giant Leap: The First Moon Landing in Photos

Apollo 11 landed on the moon nearly a half-century ago on July 20, 1969. Six hours after landing, on July 21, U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human to step onto the lunar surface. Armstrong and the other astronauts aboard Apollo 11 received a hero's welcome upon their return to Earth.

27 photos
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Astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. poses for a photograph beside the U.S. flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969.
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Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin (left to right) after the July, 1969 Apollo 11 mission from "In the Shadow of the Moon."
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View of the earth from the moon, taken from Apollo 11 in July of 1969.
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One of the first steps, astronaut Buzz Aldrin's bootprint, taken on the Moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.
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Neil Armstrong waving in front, heads for the van that will take the crew to the rocket for launch to the moon at Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Fla.
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The Saturn V rocket that launched Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their Apollo 11 moon mission lifts off at Cape Kennedy, Fla.
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Astronaut Michael Collins wears the space helmet for the Apollo 11 moon mission.
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The Apollo 11 lunar module rises from the moon's surface for docking with the command module and the trip back to earth.
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Astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. posing for a photograph beside the U.S. flag deployed on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969.
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Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin carries scientific experiments to a deployment site south of the lunar module Eagle during the Apollo 11 mission.
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Mission control personnel watch the moon walk by Apollo 11 astronauts, in Houston.
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Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. walks on the surface of the moon, July 30, 1969, with seismographic equipment which he just set up.
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Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, is photographed by Neil Armstrong walking near the lunar module during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity.
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Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, the first men to land on the moon, plant the U.S. flag on the lunar surface.
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The Apollo 11 lunar module descends to the surface of the moon carrying astronauts Neil Armstong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.
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Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, smiles for a photo inside the Lunar Module while it rested on the lunar surface.
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A view of the Apollo Command Module with astronaut Michael Collins aboard as seen from the Lunar Module.
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Apollo 11 crew boarding a recovery helicopter, July 24, 1969.
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U.S. Navy personnel, protected by Biological Isolation Garments, recover the Apollo 11 crew from the re-entry vehicle, which landed safely in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969.
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President Richard Nixon, right, greets the Apollo 11 astronauts in the quarantine van on board the U.S.S. Hornet after splashdown and recovery.
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The Apollo 11 astronauts are shown as they appeared on CBS's Face the Nation telecast from Houston, Texas on August 17, 1969.
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Confetti rains down on the Apollo 11 as they are greeted by Japanese during a parade in the Ginza, Tokyo's main street, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 1969.
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A crowd watches, as the Apollo 11 crew lands on the moon, in Central Park, New York.
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Apollo 11 astronauts acknowledge cheers of Parisians as they arrive at the Paris town hall, Oct. 8, 1969.
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Apollo 11 Astronauts, at left under flag, are surrounded by Chicago crowd at the Civic Center Plaza following a parade through downtown Chicago, Aug. 13, 1969.
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American servicemen pause on a downtown Saigon street to read a local newspaper account of the Apollo 11 lunar landing, July 21, 1969, in Vietnam.
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New Yorkers line 42nd Street to cheer Apollo 11 astronauts, in lead car from left are, Edwin Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong.
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