45 years ago, Apollo 11 blasted off into space

BY Ariel Min  July 16, 2014 at 2:38 PM EST

Forty-five years ago today, the historic liftoff of Apollo 11 was broadcast around the country as America sent the first humans to the moon.

“If all goes well, Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins are to lift off from planet 39A out there on the voyage man always dreamed about,” announced Walter Cronkite on CBS News in the live cast of the launch. “Next stop for them: the moon.”

Apollo 11 launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo by Space Frontiers/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Apollo 11 launched from Pad A, Launch Complex 39 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Photo by Space Frontiers/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

As the world watched rather nervously, the mission sent Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin into an initial Earth-orbit. Four days later on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 landed safely on the Moon, soon making Armstrong the first human to ever step onto the lunar surface.

To celebrate the 45th anniversary of the launch, the Smithsonian National Air and Space launched a Twitter account, @ReliveApollo11 to (basically) relive the event in “real time.”