Description (July 16, 1969) Aboard a Saturn V launch vehicle, the Apollo 11 mission launched from The Kennedy Space Center, Florida on July 16, 1969 and safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. The space vehicle is shown here during the rollout for launch preparation. The 3-man crew aboard the flight consisted of Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, Command Module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module pilot. Armstrong was the first human to ever stand on the lunar surface, followed by Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin. The crew collected 47 pounds of lunar surface material which was returned to Earth for analysis. The surface exploration was concluded in 2½ hours. With the success of Apollo 11, the national objective to land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth had been accomplished. The Saturn V launch vehicle was developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) under the direction of Dr. Wernher von Braun.