In 1961, President Kennedy said, "I believe that 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." In 1969, NASA's Apollo 11 lunar module landed on the Moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Over the next three years, NASA launched five more Apollo missions, bringing a total of twelve men to the lunar surface.<br><br>Neil Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 mission and was the first man to to step on the Moon. He said the famous words, "That's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind."
Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr.
An interior view of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module shows astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. during the lunar landing mission. Before he joined NASA, Aldrin was a fighter pilot for the Air Force and flew 66 combat missions in Korea. He was a key figure in the Gemini low Earth orbit missions that contributed to the development of the techniques that allowed the Apollo missions to reach the Moon. All told, Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21 hours, 36 minutes on the moon's surface.
Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr.
Astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr., was the commander of the Apollo 12 mission. A former Navy test pilot and performance engineer, he became the third man to step on the Moon on Nov. 19, 1969. Stepping off of the lunar lander, he exclaimed, “"Whoopee! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that's a long one for me!"
Alan L. Bean
Alan L. Bean was the Lunar Module pilot of the Apollo 12 Lunar Landing Mission, 1969. This mission proved that it was possible to make a precision landing with the Apollo system when the craft made a pinpoint landing in an area called the Ocean of Storms.
Although three of the original Mercury 7 astronauts flew in the Apollo program, only one, Alan Shepard, the commander of the Apollo 14 mission, walked on the moon. Shepard, the first American in space, was the fifth man to walk on the lunar surface and the first to hit a golf ball on the Moon.
Astronaut Ed Mitchell served in the support crew for Apollo 9 and was the backup lunar module pilot for Apollo 10, but it wasn't until the Apollo 14 mission, for which he served as the lunar module pilot, that he would become the sixth man to walk on the Moon.
Astronaut David Scott was the spacecraft commander of the Apollo 15 mission from July 26 to Aug. 7, 1971. This was the fourth manned lunar landing and the lunar module, remaining on the surface of the Loon for almost 67 hours, set a new record for the amount of time spent on the lunar surface.
James B. Irwin
Astronaut James B. Irwin, lunar module pilot of the Apollo 15 lunar landing mission. Irwin and David Scott were the first to visit and explore the Moon's Hadley Rille and Apennine Mountains, spending 18 hours and 35 minutes apiece in extravehicular activities.
Astronaut John W. Young flew with Charlie Duke and Ken Mattingly, on the Apollo 16 lunar landing mission, becoming the ninth man to walk on the Moon in April 1972. He was later the Spacecraft Commander of STS-1, the first flight of the Space Shuttle in 1981.
Charles Moss Duke, Jr.
Apollo 16 astronaut Charles "Charlie" Duke poses in a spacesuit, 1971. Duke flew as Lunar Module pilot, with astronauts John Young and Thomas Mattingly, on the Apollo 16 mission to the Moon. He became the 10th man to walk on the Moon in April 1972.
Eugene A. Cernan
Astronaut Eugene A. Cernan, seen in a portrait taken in 1969, was the commander of the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. In that final lunar landing mission, Cernan became "the last man on the moon," since he was the last to re-enter the Apollo Lunar Module.
Harrison H. Schmitt
Harrison H. Schmitt, seen in this portrait taken in 1971, was part of the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972. In that final lunar landing mission, Schmitt became the last of the Apollo astronauts to "arrive and set foot" on the Moon, spending 22 hours and four minutes on the lunar surface.