50 YEARS SINCE MAN’S FIRST STEP ON THE MOON

Romfilatelia meets the desires of astrophilately enthusiasts by introducing into circulation on Thursday, July 11th, the postage stamps issue 50 Years since Man’s First Step on the Moon.

Man’s dream has always been to reach the Moon and discover the mysteries of the celestial body of the Earth, Jules Verne being the first to imagine it with incredible accuracy, in his work “From the Earth to the Moon”. Those who made the dream come true were those of the American crew, the Apollo program participants, carried out between 1961 and 1972.

The Apollo program began with the rocket carrier tests in the Saturn series, reaching space flights piloted by a human crew around the Moon, that lasted for 8 years. Apollo 11 was the fifth flight with human crew and it was the third trip to the Moon.

A Saturn V rocket launched the Apollo 11 ship, carrying on board the crew consisting of Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., from the Kennedy Space Center, on July 16th, 1969. The command module bore the name of “Columbia”, and the lunar module that of “Eagle”, the eagle being the symbol of the United States of America.

July 20th is a historic day for mankind, Neil Armstrong being the first man to step on the Moon, when he said: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. A few minutes later he was followed by his mission fellow, Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr.

After this cosmic flight, another 10 people stepped on the Moon until the end of the Apollo program, the last mission being Apollo 17.

The postage stamps issue celebrates the 50th anniversary since the success of the Apollo 11 mission and consists of two stamps and an unperforated souvenir sheet, that feature the historical moment when the first human crew landed on the Moon, on July 20th, 1969.

The two stamps illustrate memorable aspects of the mission. The first stamp that has a face value of Lei 5, depicts the moment when the carrying rocket of Apollo 11, Saturn V rises from the ground with the astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. aboard, on July 16th, 1969, in the Kennedy 39A Spatial Center Launch Complex and a picture of the lunar module in which the crew appears, with the image of Earth reflected in the background.

The second stamp that has a face value of Lei 8.50, illustrates Neil Armstrong on the Moon in the foreground, this being the only image in which he appears, because he was the only crew member who had a photo camera with him. On the right side of the stamp is celebrated one of the founding fathers of the astronautics, Herman Oberth, alongside Wernher von Braun, a visionary pioneer of the technology development and rocket flights.

The imperforated souvenir sheet that has a face value of Lei 28.50 features Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. on the Moon, photographed by Neil Armstrong, a state in which it can be noticed the “Eagle” Moon module, and in the porthole is seen the reflection of the three crew members, thus being immortalized together on the Moon.

Documentation provided by the Astrophilatelic Commission of the Romanian Philately Federation.