On the 20th of July 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong (1930-2012) and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin (1930), became the first two humans to land on the moon. Their success took place before Americans had even orbited the Earth.

 

The Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched on the 16th of July, eight years after President John F. Kennedy announced a national goal of landing a man on the moon. After piloting the Moon Lander ‘The Eagle’ to a safe landing, Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. He delivered the most famous one-liner in history: “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind”. The two astronauts researched the area, collected soil and rock samples, set up experiments, and raised the American flag. The crew flew back to earth after 21.5 hours on the moon, leaving behind medallions honoring the Apollo 1 crew (who all died during a launch rehearsal test), and a plaque saying “We came in peace for all mankind”. Their re-entry capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July the 24th. The whole mission lasted 195 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds.

 

Five more Apollo missions took place after Apollo 11. The last manned moon mission, Apollo 17, took place in 1972. In total 12 astronauts walked on the moon during the Apollo program. To celebrate Apollo 11's 50th Anniversary, we’ve curated the best Apollo moon landing images for you to download for free under the Creative Commons 0 license.

Edwin Aldrin walking on the lunar surface. Neil Armstrong, who took the photograph, can be seen reflected in Aldrin’s… Edwin Aldrin walking on the lunar surface. Neil Armstrong, who took the photograph, can be seen reflected in Aldrin’s… Free Photo from public domain license
Liftoff of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. Original from NASA. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. Liftoff of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission. Original from NASA. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. Free Photo from public domain license
Personnel within the Launch Control Center watch the Apollo 11 liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at the start of the historic… Personnel within the Launch Control Center watch the Apollo 11 liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at the start of the historic… Free Photo from public domain license
Members of the Kennedy Space Center government-industry team rise from their consoles within the Launch Control Center to… Members of the Kennedy Space Center government-industry team rise from their consoles within the Launch Control Center to… Free Photo from public domain license
Early moments of the Apollo 11 launch. The 7.6 million-pound thrust Saturn V first stage boosts the space vehicle to an… Early moments of the Apollo 11 launch. The 7.6 million-pound thrust Saturn V first stage boosts the space vehicle to an… Free Photo from public domain license
Ascent stage prior to docking. Original from NASA. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. Ascent stage prior to docking. Original from NASA. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. Free Photo from public domain license
A photograph of the Apollo 9 Command/Service Modules. Original from NASA. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. A photograph of the Apollo 9 Command/Service Modules. Original from NASA. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. Free Photo from public domain license
Onboard Apollo 11, Eagle prior to descent to the moon. Original from NASA . Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. Onboard Apollo 11, Eagle prior to descent to the moon. Original from NASA . Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. Free Photo from public domain license
Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong in the Lunar Module (LM) while the LM rested on the lunar surface. This picture was taken after… Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong in the Lunar Module (LM) while the LM rested on the lunar surface. This picture was taken after… Free Photo from public domain license
Astronaut Edwin E Aldrin Jr, Lunar Module (LM) pilot descends from the LM, climbing down the ladder. Original from NASA.… Astronaut Edwin E Aldrin Jr, Lunar Module (LM) pilot descends from the LM, climbing down the ladder. Original from NASA.… Free Photo from public domain license
Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, descends the ladder of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) prior to making the… Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, Apollo 11 commander, descends the ladder of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) prior to making the… Free Photo from public domain license
A close-up view of an astronaut’s footprint in the lunar soil, photographed by a 70 mm lunar surface camera during the… A close-up view of an astronaut’s footprint in the lunar soil, photographed by a 70 mm lunar surface camera during the… Free Photo from public domain license
Astronaut Alan Bean holds Special Environmental Sample Container. Original from NASA. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. Astronaut Alan Bean holds Special Environmental Sample Container. Original from NASA. Digitally enhanced by rawpixel. Free Photo from public domain license
A photograph of the Apollo 12 lunar landing site taken during the extravehicular activity (EVA) of astronauts Charles Conrad… A photograph of the Apollo 12 lunar landing site taken during the extravehicular activity (EVA) of astronauts Charles Conrad… Free Photo from public domain license
Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 extravehicular activity on the… Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 extravehicular activity on the… Free Photo from public domain license
Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the moon near a leg of the Lunar Module during the… Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, walks on the surface of the moon near a leg of the Lunar Module during the… Free Photo from public domain license
Astronaut John W. Young, commander of the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission, leaps from the lunar surface as he salutes the… Astronaut John W. Young, commander of the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission, leaps from the lunar surface as he salutes the… Free Photo from public domain license
The official crew portrait of the Apollo 11 astronauts from left to right are: Neil A. Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins… The official crew portrait of the Apollo 11 astronauts from left to right are: Neil A. Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins… Free Photo from public domain license
New York City welcomes Apollo 11 crewmen in a showering of ticker tape down Broadway and Park Avenue in a parade termed as… New York City welcomes Apollo 11 crewmen in a showering of ticker tape down Broadway and Park Avenue in a parade termed as… Free Photo from public domain license
Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, is photographed with scientific equipment. Original from NASA. Digitally… Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot, is photographed with scientific equipment. Original from NASA. Digitally… Free Photo from public domain license