Reaching for a dream, America’s Apollo 11 astronauts hurtled across the vastness of space today on a voyage of the ages, an attempt to land two men on the moon. Civilian commander Neil A. Armstrong, 38, Air Force Col. Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., and Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Collins broke away from the embrace of the Earth’s gravity at 12:16 p.m. (EDT) today as a jarring rocket blast shot them out of the earth orbit and sent them winging toward the moon 2 1/2 hours after launch from Cape Kennedy. The spacecraft had reached 193 miles in altitude at the end of the five-minute 47-second burn. The power to boost the astronauts outward came from the third stage of the Saturn 5 rocket which lifted them with a roar heard round the world.
For 2 1/2 hours, the astronauts had orbited the globe checking the spaceship’s millions of parts before committing themselves to the quarter-million-mile journey to the moon. They reported Apollo 11 was perfect and Mission Control in Houston flashed the go-ahead to take the critical step that started them toward the moon, the alluring first goal of man’s boldest step into space.
Story directly from Associated Press as reported July 16, 1969.