'Giant leap' began 30 years ago today
NASA plans anniversary events
July 16, 1999
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Florida (CNN) -- President Richard Nixon had been in office for six months, a gallon of gasoline cost about 35 cents and the Vietnam War was at its mid-way point. The summer of 1969, the summer of Woodstock, brought something else to remember -- an achievement that towers above earthly accomplishments: Man on the Moon.
It was 30 years ago today that a spacecraft called Apollo 11 blasted off on a journey that would put Neil Armstrong (the commander) and Buzz Aldrin (lunar module pilot) on the moon four days later.
Space flight seems almost routine now. Was it scary then? Aldrin, who stepped onto the lunar surface after Armstrong, told CNN the early astronauts didn't know the meaning of the word fear.
"I don't know why these days the subject of fear comes up so much," he said Friday.
"Fear, to people who have been in aviation and combat (such as) fighter pilots ... is something you learn how to deal with and set aside," said Aldrin, 69. "It's a very disabling emotion. You want to be alert as you possibly can."
As Aldrin and Armstrong made history during a two-and-a-half-hour moonwalk, the third Apollo 11 crew member, command module pilot Michael Collins, orbited above.
The reclusive Armstrong and his crewmates plan to take questions at news conference on Friday afternoon at the Kennedy Space Center.
Other anniversary events include a commemoration dinner on Friday night. Hundreds of people involved in the Apollo project will dine beneath a giant Saturn V rocket at the center's Apollo-Saturn complex.
Correspondent Miles O'Brien contributed to this report, written by Jim Morris
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