“Amiable Strangers”

Three distinct personalities, one goal: reach the moon.




Armstrong practices descending the ladder on the lander mock-up, July 11, 1969. When he came down the real ladder on the moon, he climbed back up onto the last rung, about 32 inches, and observed, “Okay. I just checked getting back up to that first step, Buzz. It’s.…The strut isn’t collapsed too far, but it’s adequate to get back up.” A few seconds later he added, “[It] takes a pretty good little jump.” During the technical debrief after the mission, Armstrong recalled being more comfortable with the ladder at the end of the moonwalk. “The technique I used was one in which I did a deep knee bend with both legs and got my torso down absolutely as close to the footpad as I could. I then sprang vertically up and guided myself with my hands by use of the handrails. That’s how I got to the third step, which I guess was easily five to six feet above the ground.”

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