First Step On The Moon

My suspicion is that we are all going to be hearing a lot about the Lunar landing of Apollo 11 over the next few weeks – so, I am getting in early, with my own experience of what happened fifty years ago in 1969.

My parents were away on holiday and I was in the house by myself, watching history being made on live tv from the Moon.

NASA image

The Lunar Module landed at 9.17 pm UTC 20th July and there was a long wait for the big moment when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin opened the hatch and stepped onto the surface of the Moon.

By then it was 21st July in the Eastern Hemisphere (plus part of the Western) but it was still 20th July in America when it happened.

Where I was in London it was 3.56 am BST (2.56 am UTC)  and I was not the least bit sleepy. It was one of the most exciting and historic moments in history but I watched it alone. 

I set up my camera but the black and white tv images I took were lacking in clarity and my images reflect this – but they are a true record of what we all saw at that time.

1969-First Man on the Moon 600-1a
1969-First Man on the Moon: Neil Armstrong sets foot on the Moon at 3.56 am UK time, 2.56 am UTC time
1969-First Man on the Moon 600-2a
1969-First Man on the Moon: Neil Armstrong sets both feet down on the Moon’s surface.
1969-First Man on the Moon 600-3a
1969-First Men on the Moon, Neil Armstong and Buzz Aldrin, set about their planned tasks.
1969-First Man on the Moon 600-4a
1969-First Men on the Moon going about their business at Tranquility Base.
1969-First Man on the Moon 600-5a
1969-First Men on the Moon: Live from the Moon! It was awesome at the time to see a caption like this on our home tv.
1969-First Man on the Moon 600-6a
1969-First Man on the Moon: President Nixon makes a histotic phone call to the astronauts from the Oval Office.

Why did I take pictures of the tv screen? I guess it was a sense of history and my own way of recording this amazing moment, exactly as I saw it, alone, as millions around the world also watched in awe and frenzied excitement.

The images are digitised now but I still keep the original prints.

You can read the full highlights of the Apollo 11 Mission from this NASA page.


Images © Roger Powell



  1. I was with several of my family members. it was a much less late hour in the middle of the US. The images you show are inscribed into my memory. I’ve been a fan of space exploration since the beginning. Thanks for sharing those reminders.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jim. We are showing our age and the era we came from – but what an amazing era it was.
      I loved the excitement of the manned space programme but I think NASA got it mostly right with all the unmanned spacecraft. I am somewhat sceptical about proposals to go to Mars, much as I would love to see it happen.


  2. We watched the event but it’s not etched in my mind. Truthfully, it wasn’t as impressed as I should have been because of a limited understanding of the challenges involved.

    I appreciated the historic event but I also thought “of course we can go to the moon!”

    Each subsequent landing reinforced my initial (and naïve) thinking and, for a while, it looked as if it wouldn’t be long before just about anyone could go and we’d have a permanent base up there.

    I didn’t appreciate that what drove the achievement was politics, and not man’s indomitable spirit of adventure. I mean, the spirit was there, but the driver and purse string holders were something altogether different.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I too thought we’d all be going to the Moon instead of going on camping trips!
      International politics seemed to be driving it then and with so many nations now getting involved, NASA is being forced to keep up. By the way, just what are the Chinese up to on the far side of the Moon?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I presume they are doing research (research we could have been doing). Or, they are fans of Pink Floyd.

      It’s interesting that unless one is tuned to such news, one would be hard-pressed to even hear about it here in the US.

      In fact, I bet a large percentage of the population isn’t even aware of it . . . but would be had we been the ones to land there first.

      It still seems we’re more mired in political showmanship with scientific discovery taking a back seat . . . but at least it has a seat. I guess we take what we can.

      Liked by 1 person

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