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The Descent

This footage answers the eternal question, “What is the hardest substance in the known universe?” with “Armstrong and Aldrin’s balls.”

A detailed account of every second of the Apollo 11 descent and landing. The video combines data from the onboard computer for altitude and pitch angle, 16mm film that was shot throughout the descent at 6 frames per second. The audio recording is from two sources. The air/ground transmissions are on the left stereo channel and the mission control flight director loop is on the right channel.

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  • tim July 19, 2019, 9:09 AM

    That was truly wonderful, thanks for sharing Gerard.
    One of my earliest childhood memories.

  • bob sykes July 19, 2019, 1:37 PM

    I was in grad school at Purdue. I spent hours watching the whole thing from separation to the first Moon walk. I was drinking Jim Beam. Cronkite screwed up, but I didn’t care. It was one of the highlights of my life.

    At one point, I had watched on TV every manned launch and landing from Mercury through the Shuttle. I cannot express how sad and angry I am that our manned space program is dead.

    Thanks for the beautiful clip. It really moved me. I almost cried.

  • Old surfer July 19, 2019, 6:42 PM

    Bob, the NASA program may be dead, but Elon Musk and Space X is more than making up for it. His new BFR/Starship will make nasa shit their pants. He’s landing his rockets and re-using them.

  • Richard C. Moeur July 20, 2019, 12:17 PM

    Much better if one skips past the sensationalized and overdramatic introduction and get right to the actual descent at 3:05.

  • gwbnyc July 20, 2021, 7:56 AM

    I was sixteen, watched with neighbors.


    It was a great goddamn country.

  • Terry July 20, 2021, 8:19 AM

    Wow ! I certainly remember that era. What a fantastic country we had.

    Thank you for the wonderful post Gerard.

  • enn ess July 20, 2021, 10:10 AM

    Imagine that, and I always thought the hardest substance to understand was a woman’s mind.

  • Univ of Saigon 68 July 20, 2021, 10:14 AM

    They landed with 15 seconds of fuel left.

  • I Am What I Am July 20, 2021, 11:21 AM

    THE coolest thing I’ve seen today. Hell, all month.

    Back when men were men, and Americans were proudly American.


  • Casey Klahn July 20, 2021, 12:50 PM

    I was 11. I am choking back a tear.