- The men who reached the moon
The pressure was enormous. It was only two months since Apollo 10, commanded by Thomas P. Stafford, had orbited the Moon and carried out the general rehearsal for the moon landing, just 14 kilometers from the lunar surface. And now, like an Olympic runner who receives the baton from the hands of his partner, Apollo 11 warmed up its engines, that July 16, 1969.
Taking their places in the bowels of the rocket, Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins shared an empty stomach. This was what they had trained for. They were ready. But the shadow of the Apollo 1 fire lurked somewhere remote in their minds. It was inevitable.
The Saturn V rocket roared like a beast as the countdown reached zero. The astronauts, closing their eyes so as not to see their own fear in the eyes of their companions, held their breath during the few seconds it took the vehicle to leave the launch pad. It was nine thirty in the morning, and the world was staring at those three men, who in just over nine minutes began to feel the effects of microgravity.
- A quick landing on the stairs
The worst was over. Or at least the worst of the beginning. Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins saw each other for the first time while on a mission, and they proceeded to calibrate their equipment and go over the necessary telecommunications. During the next three hours Apollo 11 orbited the Earth, about 215 km high, while they verified that the established trajectory was correct. Someone will have leaned out of the window, to contemplate the immense blue spot that was the planet, and the infinite blackness of space on the other side. It was better not to wonder if this would be his farewell.
The spacecraft gave two full orbits of the planet before Houston announced the start of the trip to the Moon. They had already been oriented in the right way and the third stage engine began to propel them further and further from home, reaching 45,000 km / h.
If the calculations were successful, the Moon’s gravity would soon take them in and they would begin to orbit it. If not, they would have to coordinate corrective measures with Houston, always running the risk that the rocket would throw them on a direct path to nowhere, or simply leave them adrift. There was practically no room for error.
“How do you see it?” Perhaps an astronaut asked his companions. And Armstrong, barely 38 years old, would have responded immediately that yes, that he painted well, that they remain calm. That was the role, after all, of the mission commander: to maintain a certain atmosphere of enthusiasm.
- In Selene’s dark arms
Three long days of navigational checks and minor course corrections brought them into the embrace of the Moon. During this period, Apollo 11 lost part of its speed due to the attraction of the Earth, but it gradually regained it as it approached, when it reached 9000 km / h.
Then a new critical point of the mission began: the insertion into lunar orbit, a maneuver to be carried out on the mysterious dark side of the Moon. For half an hour telecommunications would be impossible and the mission would be entirely on its own. During that journey they were tense, checking every detail two and three times. If something happened, they could not report it, not even ask for help or say goodbye to their families.
The automatic braking controls fired in time and the spacecraft began to slow down to allow the lunar gravity to do its job. This time the astronauts felt more confident, as the pale, rocky face of the Moon filled the space outside the ship’s windows, but none dared to interrupt a respectful silence. They were alone, 400,000 kilometers away from Earth. Alone with the Moon.
Finally the radio came to life and Houston confirmed the success of the maneuver. Then, at last, the three of them burst into loud laughter. They were orbiting the Moon. They had succeeded.
- A great leap for humanity
With renewed spirits, they embarked on the next, no less dangerous, phase of the mission. The ship was to be divided into two parts: “Eagle” (eagle), the lunar module, manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, undertook the descent to the lunar surface; while “Columbia”, the module for the return home, continued to orbit the satellite under the command of Collins. It was the first time that the group had separated since the start of the mission. But these were professionals, the first space soldiers.
At 100 hours after the start of the mission, that is, almost four days later, the Eagle began its descent towards the so-called Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquillitatis), where the dusty surface of the Moon awaited him.
In Houston it was 3:17 pm on July 20 when the voice of Neil Armstrong reached them through the communication team: “Houston, Tranquility base here … the Eagle has landed on the moon.” We can only imagine the uproar such a message must have aroused among those supervising the mission from Earth.
Six hours after the moon landing, Armstrong donned his spacesuit and emerged from the lunar module to take a look in person. Descending the stairs of his ship, he activated the television camera that was embedded in his suit and transmitted the images to 600 million eager viewers.
Around him, the space was infinite black and the Moon a marvelous desert. “This is a small step for a man,” he said as the first of his boots landed on the lunar ground, “… but an immense leap for humanity.”
That phrase would remain for history.
- “Apollo 11” in Wikipedia.
- “Narration” in Wikipedia.
- “The journey of Apollo XI, minute by minute: a jump of 393,309 kms towards glory” in El Español.
- The greatest and most dangerous adventure ”in the newspaper El Mundo (Spain).
- “July 16, 1969. 51st Anniversary Launch of Apollo 11” at NASA.
What is a narrative text?
A narrative text is one that contains a story, that is, that provides the reader with a series of events spun in an orderly manner and in which a story is told. The characteristic element of the narrative text is the presence of the narrator, who may or may not be a character within the story. The story has a plot, that is, a connection between the events and a series of characters, which can be divided into main (to whom the story happens) and secondary (who accompany the main).
Some examples of literary texts are stories, novels, chronicles, legends, myths, and newspaper texts.