The Postal Service is marking the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing with two stamps that will be released Friday, July 19.
NASA’s Apollo 11 mission was launched from the John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 16, 1969. Neil Armstrong served as the flight commander, Buzz Aldrin was the pilot of the lunar module Eagle and Michael Collins was the pilot of Columbia, the command module.
The crew achieved lunar orbit three days after launch. On July 20, with Armstrong and Aldrin aboard, the Eagle separated from Columbia and began the descent to a predetermined landing site in the Sea of Tranquility.
Armstrong managed a gentle touchdown at 4:17 p.m. EDT and sent a radio message to NASA’s mission control: “The Eagle has landed.”
More than 600 million people were watching the television broadcast when Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface at 10:56 p.m. EDT and famously said, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
During a little more than two and a half hours outside the lunar module, the astronauts took photographs, collected lunar rocks and soil, and deployed several scientific experiments. They also raised the U.S. flag.
On July 21, the Eagle lifted off the moon to dock with Columbia. The three astronauts returned to Earth on July 24, just four days after landing on the moon.
One of the two 1969: First Moon Landing stamps features the iconic photograph — taken by Armstrong — of Aldrin in his spacesuit on the surface of the moon.
The second stamp, designed by Antonio Alcalá, a USPS art director, is a photograph of the moon taken in 2010 by Gregory H. Revera showing the landing site of the lunar module.
The stamps will be available at Post Offices and usps.com.