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Apollo 11's Close Call

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Apollo 11's Close Call

Space

Apollo 11's Close Call

Astronauts Struggled to Land Safely as Fuel Ebbed

Apollo 11's Close Call

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/3601053/3602048" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Web Extra: Extended Audio of the First Lunar Landing

Only Available in Archive Formats.

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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