“Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
Suddenly, Buzz and Neil heard the high-pitched sound of the Master Alarm. On the computer display the “PROG” light glowed amber. “Program alarm,” Armstrong radioed. Quickly, Aldrin queried the computer for the alarm code, and “1202” flashed on the display.
The machine-like performance of flight crew and ground controllers continued. Each participant was in perfect harmony with the other, moving to a cadence dictated by the laws of physics and the clock.
As they passed behind the moon, they had just over 8 minutes to go before the burn. They were super-careful now, they checked and rechecked each step several times. It had to be perfect. Just one digit in the computer out of place could send them into a lunar mountain or turn them and send them into orbit around the sun.
What do we call this strange region between earth and moon? Cislunar space is the most common term, Is it day or night? Humans generally define night as that time when our planet is between our eyes and the sun, so this must be considered constant daytime, But it looks like night out of Command Module’s windows.
Collins’ first task was to separate the command and service modules from the Saturn and proceed away from it a safe distance; then turn around and face it.
As Apollo 11 passed over Western Australia, at T+2 hours 26 minutes Houston relayed to Collins, Armstrong, and Aldrin – through Carnarvon – formal permission to go to the moon. “Apollo 11, this is Houston. You are go for TLI.” Mike Collins answered, “Apollo 11. Thank you.”
A Saturn V liftoff is spectacular, and the launch of Apollo 11 was no exception. But it didn’t give the audience any surprises. To the three Gemini-experienced pilots, who likened the sensation to the boost of a Titan II, it was a normal launch.