In July 1969, three American astronauts set out on a likely death mission that could only end in one of three ways: land, abort or crash.
The moment of success for the Apollo 11 lunar mission – infamously memorialized by the first human footprint on the moon and remarked upon by astronaut Neil Armstrong as “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” – was made possible by the earlier success of Apollo 10.
Did you know Hawaii has a rich history with Apollo 10 and, by extension, Apollo 11?
Imagine it’s May 1969, and the Apollo 11 moon landing is only two months away. If you were standing in Hangar 79, our Museum’s second hangar, you would have seen Charlie Brown, the affectionately nicknamed Apollo 10 space capsule. Apollo 10 astronauts orbited the moon 31 times in a “dress rehearsal” for the Apollo 11 moon landing before taking their first steps back on dry land in Hawaii.
Apollo capsules that splashed down in the Pacific were processed through Hangar 79 under the command of Capt. Robert T. Tolleson of the Manned Spacecraft Recovery Task Force based on Ford Island.
Apollo 10 launched May 18, circled the moon several times and returned to Earth on May 26, 1969, near American Samoa. Command capsule Charlie Brown was recovered by aircraft carrier USS Princeton and delivered to Pearl Harbor. Landing module Snoopy was left in lunar orbit. Charlie Brown is currently on exhibit at the London Science Museum. After this mission, NASA insisted on “more dignified” spacecraft names.
“The Day We Walked On The Moon” features astronauts, members of mission control and the children of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they reveal their personal stories behind the scenes of that iconic day. A story that ranges from the deeply personal to the grand and historic, “The Day We Walked On The Moon” will give an in-depth look at one of the most important 24-hour periods in history.