Apollo 11's Close Call

Astronauts Struggled to Land Safely as Fuel Ebbed

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Listen: <b>Web Extra:</b> Extended Audio of the First Lunar Landing

Eagle prepares to descend to the lunar surface, July 20, 1969.

Eagle prepares to descend to the lunar surface, July 20, 1969. NASA hide caption

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Thirty-five years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history by guiding their spacecraft down to the lunar surface. But few outside the control room in Houston knew that the first manned moon landing came perilously close to disaster.

With about 1,000 feet to go, Neil Armstrong realized that the lunar module's guidance computer was steering the ship toward a field of boulders. Armstrong took manual control of Eagle. But back on Earth, controllers began to worry — Eagle was about to run out of fuel.



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