Apollo 11, Lunar Module 'Eagle', 1969.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Replica. On 20th July, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin climbed down the steps of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module to become the first humans to set foot on another planetary body. "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", were Armstrong's famous words as he reached the surface. The upper or ascent stage of the Lunar Module contained a presurised crew compartment, and the rocket engine that would lift the craft off the Moon. The lower or descent stage contained the rocket motor that was used to brake the craft when it fell out of orbit, the complex landing legs, and equipment to be used on the Moon. The lower stage was used as a launch pad for the upper stage, when it took off to rejoin the Command Module and return to Earth.