Wednesday, July 20, 2011
On July 20, 1969 President Richard Nixon joined approximately 500 million people around the world in watching Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin as the astronauts left their lunar landing module and were the first human beings to walk on the moon. (The Soviet Union and China, America's two biggest rivals in the space race, banned the broadcast in their respective countries.) After they planted an American flag on the moon's surface and Neil Armstrong spoke his famous quote, "That's one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind", the astronauts spoke directly to President Nixon who congratulated them on their historic mission. His phone was linked via satellite through the NASA control center in Houston, Texas.