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Apollo 11 Launch Footage: This Happened 45 Years Ago Today

16/07/2014 09:02 BST | Updated 16/07/2014 15:59 BST

Apollo 11 lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center exactly 45 years ago today.

Astronauts Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong lifted off atop a Saturn V rocket on July 16 1969.

Millions watched the event live on TV, as the rocket successfully left Launch Pad 39A at 1.32pm local time. The rocket made it to Earth orbit in 12 minutes and began its long journey towards our only natural satellite.

It would take the astronauts four days to arrive at the Moon, whereupon Armstrong and Aldrin descended to the Lunar surface and took humanity's first steps on another world on 20 July 1969.

apollo 11 launch

Broadcast live on TV as he stepped onto the Moon, Armstrong famously said that his journey represented "one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind".

They would all safely return to Earth, to be followed by a further 10 astronauts destined to walk on the Lunar surface. No human has been back to the Moon since the successful conclusion of the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

Apollo 11 Launch: In Pictures

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