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In pictures: the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969

From launch to landing: NASA archive images from the first successful manned moon landing mission.

NOTE: This post was originally published on on 21 January 2012.

IT’S ALMOST 50 years since man first walked on the moon and the images captured around that event remain as captivating as they were in 1969.

The US remains the only nation to have landed men on the moon, and no human has walked on the lunar surface since NASA’s Apollo 17 mission in 1972, forty years ago this year.

From the NASA archives, here are some of the most iconic images of that first lunar landing alongside photographs of the command centre celebrating the mission’s success and President Nixon greeting the returned – but quarantined – crew:

In pictures: the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969
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  • 1. Launchpad

    A plume of flames marks the lift-off of Apollo 11 from the Kennedy Space Centre on 16 July 1969, carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin 'Buzz' Aldrin. (NASA)
  • 2. Watching and waiting

    Crowds gathered for the Kennedy Space Centre launch include former US President Lyndon B Johnson. (NASA)
  • 3. Lift-off

    Rockets propel Apollo 11 away from the Earth's surface. This image was captured by a telescopic camera mounted on an Air Force plane. (NASA)
  • 4. Landing

    Apollo 11's lunar landing module 'Eagle' is photographed by Collins who remained on board the Command and Service Modules while Armstrong and Aldrin descended onto the lunar surface on 20 July 1969. (NASA)
  • 5. On the moon

    Mission commander Neil Armstrong is photographed by Aldrin after the pair successfully landed on the moon. (NASA)
  • 6. Moon walk

    Buzz Alrin is shown in an iconic image captured by Armstrong as the astronauts explored the moon's Sea of Tranquility. (NASA)
  • 7. Moon footprint

    Another iconic Apollo 11 image: Buzz Aldrin's bootprint on the lunar surface. (NASA)
  • 8. Experiments

    Aldrin is pictured setting up a solar wind composition experiment on the moon. (NASA)
  • 9. Gold branch

    A replica of the gold olive branch, a symbol of peace, Armstrong left on the moon's surface during Apollo 11's mission. (NASA)
  • 10. The return

    The three astronauts inside their landing pod after returning through the Earth's atmosphere. Members of the US Navy are alongside in a raft. (NASA)
  • 11. Released

    The US Navy rescued the three returned Apollo 11 astronauts after they landed in the Pacific Ocean on 24 July 1969. (NASA)
  • 12. Nixon awaits

    President Richard Nixon and NASA administrator Dr Thomas Paine wait for the astronauts to be flown from their landing pod to the USS Hornet. (NASA)
  • 13. Apollo Crew

    The three astonauts of Apollo 11 from left: Neil Armstrong, commander, Michael Collins, command module pilot, and Edwin Aldrin Jr, lunar module pilot. (NASA)
  • 14. Nixon greets the astronauts

    President Nixon welcomes the astronauts aboard the USS Hornet. The three men are pictured inside a quarantine facility on board the ship to prevent the spread of any potential lunar contagions. (NASA)
  • 15. Celebrating success

    Flight controllers at NASA's Mission Control Centre celebrate the success of Apollo 11's lunar landing mission on 24 July 1969. (NASA)
  • 16. Celebrating success

    NASA and Manned Spacecraft Centre officials join flight controllers in their post-mission celebrations. (NASA)
  • 17. A New York City welcome

    The Apollo 11 astronauts greet the thronging crowds gathered along New York City streets in mid-August 1969 during their ticker-tape parade celebrating the lunar mission. (NASA)

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