The decision to let Neil Armstrong take the first steps on the moon was controversial – especially with his colleague Buzz Aldrin
It was 1969. The last year for President Kennedy’s pledge to land a man on the moon and return him safely “before this decade is out”. Nasa was not sure it could be done in time. There were, perhaps, going to be only three opportunities before the deadline expired.
On 6 January the head of the astronaut office at Nasa, Deke Slayton, called the crew of Apollo 11 – Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins – into his office in Houston, Texas, and told them that their mission, set for July, might involve a lunar landing. A few weeks earlier, Apollo 8 had taken the first crewed voyage around the moon, and the tasks of the forthcoming Apollos 9 and 10 were set. Apollo 9 was to test the lunar landing spacecraft in Earth orbit and Apollo 10 was a full rehearsal at the moon – everything except the landing itself.