The eyes of the world were on the Apollo II spaceship when it blasted off from Cape Kennedy last Wednesday (16 July) and headed for the moon to land two men on its surface.
ROCKET ON PAD; ASTRONAUTS ON WAY TO ROCKET; ASTRONAUTS ENTER ELEVATOR; MEN AT MISSION CONTROL CONSOLES; PRESSMEN AND PHOTOGRAPHERS; ARTISTS; TELEVISION MEN; APOLLO II LIFT-OFF BEING FILMED AND WATCHED BY CROWDS AND MEMBERS OF MISSION; APOLLO II ON WAY TO THE MOON.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The eyes of the world were on the Apollo II spaceship when it blasted off from Cape Kennedy last Wednesday (16 July) and headed for the moon to land two men on its surface.
The final preparations for the mission unrolled with clock-like precision. An army of professional observers and reporters were present at the launching, as well as vast crowds of onlookers.
The 363-ft (110.6 m) high Saturn rocket and Apollo spacecraft were visible some 15 miles from the launch pad. Mission commander Neil Armstrong went aboard the spacecraft shortly before 7 a.m. (11.00 GMT), and Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin followed close behind.
The astronauts blasted off at 9.32 a.m. stop a pillar of orange-red flame and smoke. Some II minutes later the spacecraft was in earth orbit -- watched by more than a million sight-seers, representatives of almost 100 nations, and some 4,000 reporters and cameramen from the world's press, television and radio, as well as writers and painters who had come to record the scene.