Five years ago, on July 20, 1969, two humans stepped onto the surface of the Moon for the first time.
GV Apollo 11 on launch pad.
CU's Nell Amstrong, in space kit.
SCU's Collins and Aldrin dressing.
GV PAN Mission control room.
GV Apollo ignition and lift-off.
TOP VIEW Gantries swing away.
GV Apollo soars into sky and people watch.
SV Crew in capsule.
SV Crew working in capsule.
GV's Lunar surface and lunar module lands.
GV Lunar landscape.
SV Shadow and TILT UP Amostrong standing on moon.
SV United States flag.
GV Amstrong and Aldrin moon walk.
GV Amstrong on steps of lunar module.
GV Receding moon surface.
GV Earth rises over moon hirozon.
GV Flames as module re-enters atmosphere.
GV USS Hornet.
GV Capsule and astronauts being winched out.
SV PAN Astronauts into sealed compartment.
SV Amstrong, Collins and Aldrin.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Five years ago, on July 20, 1969, two humans stepped onto the surface of the Moon for the first time. Back on Earth, 600 million others watched this, the pinnacle of Man's exploratory achievement, on live television.
Today, that great adventure - that great step for Mankind, as it was called - has been overtaken by other events in this fast-moving world. Already, it is part of history and the names of the men who took the spaceship Apollo 11 to the Moon...Amstrong, Aldrin and Collins...have to be dug from the memory. But the flight of Apollo 11 remains perhaps the finest piece of engineering technology yet devised. It was the culmination of a 25,000 million dollar programme launched eight years earlier by President Kennedy, aimed at ensuring the first man on the moon was an American.
And it was a spectacular success. Having got away to a bad start in the space race against the Soviet Union, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mobilised the finest engineering and electronics brains in America and harnessed them to a crash programme which eventually put not one, but twelve Americans on the Moon in six breathtaking Moonshots.
Apollo 11 was first. It blasted off from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969. The crew commander was a civilian engineer, Neil Amstrong, aged 38: pilot of the lunar module - codenamed Eagle - was US Air Force Colonel Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin 39: pilot of the command module, which circled the Moon while the other two landed, was US Air Force Lt-Colonel Michael Collins, 38.
Eagle landed in the Moon's arid Sea of Tranquility on July 20. With television cameras transmitting live pictures 240,000 miles across space to Earth, Neil Amstrong stepped from the lunar module onto the surface of the Moon, with the words - "one small step for Man - one giant leap for Mankind."
That was the apoges of America's space programme. It gave the United States a stiff shot of national pride at a time when it was finding it hard to answer its own questions about Vietnam and the equality of its citizens.
There were six more Apollo missions to the Moon - although one, Apollo 13, never landed. There was also Skylab and, in the future, space-flights in co-operation with Russians.
But, by the time Amstrong, Aldrin and Collins had come back to earth, Americans began to question the value of Moon landings. Scientists justifiably claim that samples and observations brought back from the lunar surface have contributed enormously to human knowledge of the universe.