This month is the 50th anniversary of the infamous Moon Landing. Here at Orbital, we are taking the opportunity to look back at how far technology has come, and where it is taking us next. To kick off the celebrations, we have 5 facts that we bet you didn’t know about man’s first steps in space.

1. The first drink consumed on the moon was wine

Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin actually remembers his first drink on the moon being wine, and the way it “curled” up the side of his cup gracefully. As he told Guideposts, “In the radio blackout I opened the little plastic packages which contained bread and wine.” He had wanted to televise the moment to share with the world, but apparently NASA wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea. Madalyn Murray O'Hair had previously protested the reading of Genesis by Apollo 8, so the idea that the second man to step onto the moon would perform a religious act may have been a bit much in that climate.  So, Aldrin drank his wine privately. We think Wine is the perfect way to commemorate such a long journey. Let’s just hope Neil Armstrong was the designated driver.

2. Armstrong carried with him a piece of wood from Wright brothers' aeroplane

The first recorded flight was achieved by the Wright Brothers in 1903, 66 years before the Apollo 11 lunar mission. Neil Armstrong chose to take with him fragments of wood from the pioneering Wright plane along with a piece of fabric from the plane in the hopes that the lunar mission would be just as iconic in its success.

3. The astronauts declared "moon rock and moon dust samples" to customs when they returned to Earth

In 2015, Buzz Aldrin tweeted a picture of his "travel voucher" outlining the list of expenses from his trip to space, just like somebody would for a family holiday. He then revealed that the astronauts had to sign customs forms on their return to Earth, where they were required to declare the "moon rock and moon dust samples" they were carrying.

4. The astronauts landed with only 25 seconds of fuel to spare

During the planning of the Apollo 11 mission, a site on the Moon was picked as the landing site that was thought to be safe and flat. But while the Apollo was descending, Aldrin and Armstrong realised the site was covered in boulders and knew it would be dangerous to attempt the planned landing. So, Armstrong began to manually navigate the probe; skimming over the risky site, a decision which meantmore fuel would be consumed while finding a new location. The probe had a fuel limit which would make the mission automatically abort if reached. The probe landed just 25 seconds before reaching its limit. If the probe had landed 25 seconds later than it did, the probe would automatically reverse back into the moon’s orbit, to head back to Earth, and no man would have stepped on the moon’s surface.

5. The Apollo Mission required the work of over 400,000 engineers, technicians and scientists

Many of these people had never worked in the aerospace industry, and none had worked before on machines designed to transport humans to another world. Overnight, as their companies won Apollo contracts, their day jobssuddenly took on a greater purpose. Achieving technicalmiracles, an accomplishment which, if achieved, would transcend nationhood. Such global unity was something that no peacemaker, politician or prophet had ever quite achieved. But 400,000 engineers with a promise to keep to a president managed it.


Want to work with us?

Get in touch