Check out these amazing 16 rarely-seen Apollo 11 photos

17 Jul 2015

To a heroes' welcome, the Apollo 11 astronauts return home to a ticker tape parade in New York City

As we approach the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, let us take a moment to look at 16 rarely-seen photos from just before take-off to returning to Earth as heroes.

Nearly half a century since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to set foot on a celestial body that wasn’t Earth, the Apollo 11 mission still captivates the hearts and minds of all those who love looking up at the stars.

Despite the belief that some hold that space has failed to captivate a global audience in the same way since the Apollo 17, the final Apollo mission in 1972, recent events have somewhat challenged this belief.

Just this week, for the first time in history mankind has been able to look at the surface of our solar system’s most distant former planet, Pluto, which rather than make everyone tune into their TVs, saw people go online and witness the first photos released on social media.

Likewise, in November 2014, the European Space Agency (ESA) became the first organisation to, somewhat successfully at least, land a spacecraft on a comet hurtling through space and send us back scientific data, which was equally heralded as a major achievement online and in traditional media.

Back in 1969, there was no social media of course, but the then relatively recent availability of satellite TV was enough to broadcast three feeds across the world and to a reported 125m people in the US alone.

So in honour of the achievements of NASA, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, here are 16 pretty incredible photos giving insight into their mission.

All images are courtesy of the NASA Project Apollo Archive.

Apollo 11 team doing a complete test run days prior to the launch on 20 July 1969

Apollo 11 photos testing with satellite dish

The Apollo 11 team testing various instruments prior to launch

Apollo 11 photos Buzz Aldrin in suit

Buzz Aldrin during testing of his extra-vehicular activities (EVA) suit

Apollo 11 photos Neil and Buzz

The men who will walk on the moon: Neil Armstrong (left) and Buzz Aldrin (right) wait for training to get underway

Getting to grips with the lunar lander

Apollo 11 photos Neil Armstrong lunar lander

Neil Armstrong with the craft that will land him on the surface of the moon

Apollo 11 photos Lunar module 5

The Lunar Module 5 is given a final check before being placed in the Saturn V rocket

Apollo 11 photos inside craft

Neil Armstrong and a rather bored looking technician inside the lunar lander during final checks

Apollo 11 ready for take-off

Apollo 11 photos Saturn V being prepared for launch

Saturn V being prepared for launch

Apollo 11 photos Saturn V on crawlerway

Saturn V moves at 1mph down the crawlerway toward pad 39A

Apollo 11 photos Saturn V takeoff

All systems go! Apollo 11 blasts off on way to the moon

The eagle has landed…

Apollo 11 photos lunar module

Inspection of Lunar Module Eagle after un-docking

Apollo 11 photos Aldrin carrying equipment

It wasn’t all fun for Armstrong and Aldrin with the latter shown carrying equipment for running experiments

Apollo 11 photos Aldrin in lander

A pretty happy looking Armstrong snapped just after returning to the safety of the lunar lander following the first spacewalk

Apollo 11 photos Earth crescent

A beautiful shot during the return trip to Earth of the planet being obscured by the moon they just left

A heroes’ welcome … behind quarantine

Apollo 11 photos quarantine chamber

Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin share a smile from their quarantine chamber

Apollo 11 photos quarantine wives

The astronauts get to greet their wives, sort of, after returning to Earth

Apollo 11 photos cake cutting

Cake celebration following their return, but due to the quarantine, the astronauts weren’t able to join in

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic