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What Was Inside Neil Armstrong’s Pocket When He First Stepped on the Moon?

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to have landed on the moon. Six hours after landing, Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon, and as she took his first step, he said; That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. But did you know what was in his pocket when he first walked on the moon?

When Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon, he had a small cut of fabric and a piece of wood from the propeller of the 1903 Wright Flyer in his pocket. This was meant to symbolically connect the first flight with the first moon landing. 

The Moon Landing

The effort to send astronauts to the moon started with President John F. Kennedy. At the time, the United States was trailing way behind the Soviet Union regarding developments in space travel.

I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.

President John F. Kennedy

In 1966, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducted the first unmanned Apollo Mission. With this, they can test the structural integrity of the spacecraft.

On January 27, 1967, a fire broke out during the Apollo spacecraft and Saturn rocket testing. Three astronauts were killed in the fire. Despite the accident, NASA still continued with the project, and by October 1968, the Apollo 7 mission was carried out. It was the first manned Apollo mission that orbited the Earth successfully. The success of the test space flights led to the moon landing of 1969.

On July 16, 1969, at 9:32 in the morning, Apollo 11 took off from the Kennedy Space Center with three astronauts aboard. After traveling for 76 hours, the spacecraft entered into the lunar orbit. By July 20, 1969, at around 1:46 PM, the lunar module Eagle separated from the command module. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were aboard the Eagle, while Michael Collins remained in the command module.

By 4:17 PM, the spacecraft finally landed on the moon. At this point, Armstrong radioed Mission Control in Houston, Texas, and said; The Eagle has landed. 

They were five hours ahead of schedule. Armstrong opened the hatch and made his way down the ladder, and as soon as he planted his foot on the moon’s surface, he uttered the words; That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. (Source: History)

What was the Significance of the Fabric and Piece of Wood?

The astronauts of the Apollo 11 took a small piece of fabric and wood from the first airplane, but the question is why? We all know that Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the first airplane. The innovation and process behind their first flight are what truly broke barriers. Since then, the technology of flying has evolved.

The symbolic link between the two feats needed to be commemorated with this extraordinary act. Today, the plaque with the fabric and wood piece that went to space is at the Smithsonian Museum. (Source: World Strides)

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