Apollo 11’s journey to the moon, annotated

You’re looking at one of the most incredible
moments in human history. That’s Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, walking
on the moon. Okay, maybe you’ve seen this clip before,
but think about that for a second: They’re on the moon. A celestial object nearly 240,000 miles into
outer space. That distance is like flying all the way around
the Earth 9 1/2 times. Millions of people around the world watched
on July 16, 1969, as Apollo 11, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins
launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida, and disappeared into the sky. It was the climax of years of preparation
and research, and the pinnacle moment of the so-called “Space Race” between the United
States and Soviet Union, a years-long rivalry to compete for dominance in space exploration. For the eight days following the launch, the
world awaited the return of the would-be heroes. So what actually happened between here and here? So let’s start with the components of the
ship that were discarded one by one until this became this. Here’s the rocket that sent the astronauts
into space: the Saturn V. The three stages of the Saturn V each played
a different role in launching Apollo on a path to the moon — we’ll get to that later. On top of the rocket is the actual Apollo
spacecraft. It’s made up of three parts too. There’s the lunar module, the component
that would eventually land on the lunar surface, the service module, which had propulsion systems
for course corrections and entering and escaping orbit, and the command module, where our three
heroes were for most of the mission. And last but not least, this is the launch
escape system, which was designed to pull the command module away from the rocket if
something went wrong during launch. Together, all these pieces made up the Saturn
V rocket and Apollo 11 spacecraft. But it’s the way they came apart that made
the moon landing happen. The Saturn V’s first stage launched Apollo,
carrying the spacecraft 42 miles above the Earth and reaching a speed of about 6,000
miles per hour. The first stage then detached, and once the
Saturn V’s second stage kicked in, the now needless launch escape system jettisoned too. The second stage propelled the spacecraft
even farther and faster into space, and after it detached, the third stage of the rocket
fired briefly to knock Apollo into a parking orbit, 103 miles above the Earth’s surface. Here, final checks were made, and the Saturn
V fired again to set Apollo on course to the moon, in a move called the “translunar injection.” Once the spacecraft propelled away from Earth,
the Saturn V’s job was done. Now the astronauts needed to pull off a mid-flight
maneuver to reconfigure the ship so the crew could access the lunar module, which had been
stored in a protective compartment during launch. To do this, the command and service modules
detached together and flipped 180 degrees, docking with the lunar module and extracting
it. In the process, they ditched the third, now-useless,
stage of the Saturn rocket. This whole high-stakes launch process only
took about 3 1/2 hours and this — the completed Apollo spacecraft — was the end result. For the next three days, Apollo coasted through
space. Until it finally reached its target and was
pulled into orbit by the moon’s gravity. This is where the crew split up. Armstrong and Aldrin transferred to the lunar
module, named Eagle, and slowly descended toward the surface. While Collins continued to circle the moon
in the command module, called Columbia. Now here comes another tricky part: landing
on the moon. To make this historic moment happen, Eagle
turned and used its engine to slow its momentum and ultimately touch down on the lunar surface. “The Eagle has landed.” The moonwalk was broadcast live on television,
immortalizing Neil Armstrong’s words here: “That’s one small step for man, one giant
leap for mankind.” “I think that was Neil’s quote I didn’t
understand.” “‘One small step for man,’ but I didn’t
get the second phrase …” After about 21 1/2 hours on the moon, Eagle
performed the first launch from a celestial body that wasn’t Earth, leaving its landing
gear behind and timing its ascent with Columbia’s path in lunar orbit to rejoin the spacecraft. Once Armstrong and Aldrin transferred back
into the command module, the lunar module was no longer needed. Just like before, Apollo needed to break out
of orbit. This maneuver is called the transearth injection,
and began the 2 1/2 day journey home. Upon approaching its entry point into Earth’s
atmosphere and no longer needing its propulsion engines, Apollo jettisoned the service module
and prepared for reentry, protected by the now-exposed heat shield on the bottom of the
command module. “Apollo blazes across the heavens, coming
back to Earth at 25,000 miles per hour.” Parachutes deployed, and Columbia splashed
down safely into the Pacific Ocean. And what was once a 3,000-ton behemoth of
rocket, fuel, and freight was reduced to this. A small command module floating in the ocean,
carrying three astronauts and rock samples collected from the surface of the moon.


  1. For more space-inspired stories check out these Vox videos:
    🚀 Astronauts left poop on the moon. We should go get it. https://youtu.be/VL18F8oHMrU
    🚀 Astronaut ice cream is a lie https://youtu.be/zpkUjrC3-Ds
    🚀 The font that escaped the Nazis and landed on the moon https://youtu.be/SaX_PwxSh5M

  2. Reminds me the movie Armageddon, 2 space shuttle from earth at full trust to the space to catch up with the asteroid, land on it, follow by drilling a hole deep enough to place the nuke ,once is done, shuttle take off, at a safe distance then detonate the nuke while shuttle is heading back to earth. what a journey..all these possible with a help from Alien technology which still doesn't exist

  3. 4:21 Everybody that worked on the Apollo mission and really every particle of humanity is somewhere in that picture except for 3 Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, The crew on Apollo 11, Earth looks so small, insignificant, fragile.

  4. Awesome animation. Please excuse my OCD, but at around 3:15 they had to fire the engine as a break in order to actually get into lunar orbit.

  5. i have some questions related these whole process ,,I want to know how they back to earth from moon without any rockets ?

  6. I can't believe they did all of that seamlessly without any hiccups or catastrophic failures (especially that 360 maneuver) in 1969 while it took Musk like 3 or 4 failed launches just to make it to outer orbit in early 2000's???

  7. I appreciate this video because it's the best conceptual representation of how the Apollo missions occurred. I always thought I had a pretty good idea of how the spacecraft worked but didnt realize they disconnected and rotated 180 to attach to the lunar module. Very nice video!

  8. The Earth's orbital speed around the Sun is claimed to be approximately 67,000 mph. The Moon is claimed to orbit the Earth, so under this model, the Moon is therefore also moving 67,000 mph around the Sun. Once the Apollo spacecraft broke free of Earth's orbit, it must still be traveling at 67,000 mph in orbit around the Sun. First of all, why is the human speed record claimed to be only 24,790 mph by the Apollo 10 mission? More importantly, how did the Apollo spacecraft and crew manage the 67,000 mph orbital speed around the Sun while being outside the protection of the Earth's atmosphere?

  9. This never happened, just some we’re clear. This is a video about a fictional event.

    Also you lied about entering lunar orbit. The engine on the Command Mod/LEM had to fire to slow the whole package down as it neared the moon. Otherwise, it would have flown right past the moon at very high speed.

    You left that part out……. why? I know why: Then that SAME ENGINE had to be turned off. Then it had to sit in cold space for a few days while orbiting the moon….. Then that same engine had to RESTART to get everyone back home, back through the Van-Allen belts and into the Earth’s atmosphere at God knows what speed. It had to work perfect, every time…… or everyone dies. There was not one failure in all the missions.

    So I get why you left that part out. It’s too ridiculous to believe.

  10. Do u believe these lies? Live streaming from the moon at that time?

    And why we never sees anything like this todayy, when we have better technologies..

  11. The vast number of things that had to work correctly astounds me…that they worked well enough to get it right the first time. I do know they had various non moon missions before hand, but still…some of those manuevers along the way seem hard to have tested.

  12. Even though I was just a kid when this all happened, it is really no excuse. I am ashamed to admit I never really understood how the moon landing was accomplished until right now. The creation of that spacecraft was truly ingenious. I am embarrassed that I ever even entertained the possibility that the non believers could be right. That there really was no moon landing. I think we all have watched a little too much X-Files…, wonderful show as it was.

  13. I’d like to proclaim that in that Saturn V launch animation the second stage only had 1 engine but it actually had 5 J-2 engines.

  14. Soviet union:
    First object in space
    First dog in space
    First man in space
    First woman in space
    First space station
    First object orbiting the moon

    First man in the moon
    Winner the space race

  15. I just love your channel and level of storytelling so much. As much as I like snackable content, I would LOVE LOVE LOVE you to do a full documentary on space travel!

  16. Just a second. Ok so they start from Earth orbite with speed over 40 000 km/ h and they fly 3 days to moon ? Distans to the moon is 383400 km say 400 000 km . Then make small calculation 400 000 km/ 40 000 km/h = 10 hours. . 3 days x 24 = 72 hours. Where they spend 62 hours ? In Mc Donalds ?

  17. I think that turning of 180 degree and dock a LM with speed 40 000 km is incredible difficult to not say not possibly at all.

  18. I'l like to know how he landing module got all the speed, direction and control to join up with the command module on the return leg. All this telematics is lost. What a shame …….

  19. Couldn't you just build like a big staircase all the way up to the moon? Isn't that just wayy easier than spaceships

    Edit: I see alot of people are taking me seriously…

  20. So many illogical things about moon missions. Slowing down from 25000 mph to zero with parashutes is just one of them. I still cannot believe how an educated person can believe men were on the moon. Our technology is not even close to reaching that level.

  21. The computers on Apollo were fricking huge. Nowadays that same computing power fits in your phone easily. let that sink in.

  22. Pfffffft. You believe the landings were on the moon ? They obviously painted mars white and filmed it there, obviously 🙄


  24. I'd hate NASA if I would be told that I'd have to stay in the command ship while my friends go and have fun on the moon

  25. How did they get between the command module and the lunar module? was there a door on the top as well as the side? And if the re-entry module has a thick heat shield, how was it connected to the rocket and how was it controling the rocket if there is a heat shield covering the bottom of the floor. There would need to be wires and hinges and all sorts….

  26. Please explain how a rocket can operate in a vacuum. Proof of hoax… hammer and feather fell at different times indicating the existence of air on the feather and air on the moon.

  27. More like the moons gravity pulled them into orbit AFTER they fired their engines retrograde to slow down to a speed that the moons weak gravity could hold on to.If they didn't use the engines they would have went right past the moon.

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