Apollo 11 launch: Watch the most memorable moments from CBS News' coverage

By Victoria Albert

/ CBS News

CBSN

Watch CBS News' original live coverage of the Apollo 11 launch from July 16, 1969 in the video player above starting at 6 a.m. ET.

Fifty years ago today, Apollo 11 began its voyage into American history. The Saturn V rocket carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969 — and just four days later, man first set foot on the moon. The moon mission was a milestone in human history. But it was also a groundbreaking moment in broadcast television, as CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite brought the frontier of space to living rooms across America.

Here are five of the most memorable moments from CBS News' coverage of the launch.

Apollo 11: Celebrating 50 years More

More in Apollo 11: Celebrating 50 years

Astronauts share a meal before their historic mission

Apollo 11 astronauts share a meal before their historic mission

The night before their ascent into space, Apollo 11's three astronauts appeared calm, laughing and joking while sharing dinner with a large group. "In the past, we used to enjoy this dinner very much," said Walter "Wally" Schirra, one of NASA's original Mercury Seven astronauts, who joined Cronkite for the broadcast. "We brought some of our close friends in to dine with us… If they had confidence, then we, in turn, would have our own come up a little bit more." The morning of the launch, the Apollo 11 trio ate breakfast with a much smaller crew and reviewed maps with NASA's Deke Slayton.

Walter Cronkite on the "most dangerous, but most thrilling" mission

Walter Cronkite kicks off CBS News report on Apollo 11, the "most dangerous, but most thrilling” mission

Cronkite kicked off the network's July 16th broadcast by introducing the three astronauts who would attempt the "most dangerous, but most thrilling" mission of all time: 38-year-old civilian Neil Armstrong, a former Navy pilot; 39-year-old Air Force colonel Buzz Aldrin; and 38-year-old lieutenant colonel Michael Collins, who piloted the command module while Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon. "Three astronauts awakened at 4:15 this morning — an hour and 45 minutes ago, according to our time here — had a good breakfast, and were pronounced fit as a fiddle and ready to go," Cronkite reported.

Astronauts wave goodbye as they prepare to board Saturn V rocket

Apollo 11 astronauts wave goodbye as they head to the Saturn V rocket

After finishing breakfast and completing final preparations, the astronauts left the command space center in their space suits, waved to the assembled crowd, and boarded a transfer van. The specially equipped, air-conditioned van drove the crew about 12 miles to launch station 39A, the home of the 36-story-tall Saturn V rocket that would launch them to the moon.

Americans pack Florida beach awaiting launch: "This is a dramatic point in history"

Americans pack Florida beach for Apollo 11 launch: “This is a dramatic point in history”

CBS sports commentator Heywood Hale Broun took to the beach in Florida, where thousands of Americans awaited the launch. "I felt it was a dramatic point in history," said one man, who brought his son across the state for a better view. "I just hope they make it successfully and have no problem," said another, who journeyed all the way from Torrance, California. But not everyone was equally impressed by the moon: "There's things further out," one woman said.

Apollo 11 launches, beginning epic journey to the moon

Apollo 11 launches, beginning epic journey to the moon

Cronkite counted down the anxious minutes — then seconds — until the Saturn V's launch. In the final moments, smoke billowed from the rocket as Cronkite counted down from 12. "Oh boy," Cronkite said as the mission took flight. "Oh boy, it looks good, Wally!"

-Jon Miller contributed to this story.

Apollo 11: The original moonwalk 28 photos

First published on July 16, 2019 / 5:30 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Apollo 11: The original moonwalk

Watch: Apollo 11 launch on CBS 50 years ago today

50 years ago, CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite brought the frontier of outer space to televisions across America

11M ago

Trump's history of inflaming racial tensions

President Trump is facing backlash for a racist tweet about four members of Congress

5H ago

Protests intensify as Puerto Rico governor faces calls to resign

Police tried to disperse the marchers with pepper spray in front of the Fortaleza governor's residence, which was protected by barricades

5H ago

Hawaiian activists block road to protest giant telescope

Some Native Hawaiians consider Mauna Kea to be holy, as a realm of gods and a place of worship

6H ago

At least 1 killed, 15 injured in Los Angeles home explosion

The explosion occurred before 12:15 p.m. in an area where crews initially responded due to a ruptured gas line

6H ago

Trump's history of inflaming racial tensions

President Trump is facing backlash for a racist tweet about four members of Congress

5H ago

Protests intensify as Puerto Rico governor faces calls to resign

Police tried to disperse the marchers with pepper spray in front of the Fortaleza governor's residence, which was protected by barricades

5H ago

Trump abortion restrictions to go into effect immediately

Family planning clinics that are funded by taxpayers must stop referring women for abortions, effective immediately, the Trump administration says

6H ago

Buttigieg: White Americans "can't be defensive" when talking about race

In an exclusive interview with CBS News, the 2020 Democrat said he worries the "American project" will unravel unless racial inequity is addressed

2H ago

2020 Daily Trail Markers: Candidates reveal fundraising totals

Presidential candidates have a midnight deadline to file their second quarter fundraising totals with the Federal Election Commission

10H ago

Watch: Apollo 11 launch on CBS 50 years ago today

50 years ago, CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite brought the frontier of outer space to televisions across America

11M ago

Video shows moment carnival ride snaps in half, killing 2 people

The circular pendulum ride started off smoothly until part of the ride broke off minutes later

4H ago

Woman in Saudi Arabia loses custody battle despite alleged abuse

A Saudi court rejected her testimony because she did not have male witnesses backing her up

12H ago

Giant human-sized jellyfish spotted off U.K. coast

Lizzie Daly wasn't afraid of the giant barrel jelly fish — she swam around with it for an hour

15H ago

Man detained in American scientist's murder in Greece

Authorities said the 27-year-old man held Monday was one of 10 people interviewed over the weekend for the investigation of Suzanne Eaton's slaying

18H ago

What to watch for at San Diego Comic-Con 2019

Here's what to look forward to at the 50th annual San Diego Comic-Con this week

13H ago

How to watch Apollo 11 50th anniversary live stream

50 years ago, millions of people were glued to their television sets as Apollo 11​ launched to the moon

14H ago

New on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon

Shows and movies you'll want to stream soon

Jun 24 33 photos

Beyoncé and Meghan Markle publicly meet for first time

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attended Disney's "The Lion King" European premiere on Sunday and embraced musical royalty

14H ago

Austin Butler to play Elvis Presley in forthcoming biopic

Butler was one of five actors being considered for the iconic role

14H ago

Jeff Bezos looks to reduce the "price of admission" to space

Norah O'Donnell interviewed Bezos ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission

10H ago

$5 billion fine reported for Facebook data-privacy violations

Facebook had allowed Trump vendor Cambridge Analytica to collect data from millions of users without their knowledge

12H ago

Why Walmart, eBay and others are banking on Amazon Prime Day

Rivals to Amazon are hitching their sales to the two-day Prime Day event — and there's evidence it may pay off

14H ago

Amazon Prime Day comes with protests over working conditions

Retailer's annual summer sale brings slew of demonstrations on issues that include work conditions and climate change

14H ago

Beware these scams on Amazon Prime Day

The two-day shopping event is likely to bring out scammers in search of your dollars and data

16H ago

SpaceX identifies cause of Crew Dragon explosion

The company has been searching for the cause of a catastrophic explosion that destroyed an unmanned Crew Dragon spacecraft in April

10H ago

The path to Apollo 11: A timeline of the space race

A timeline of major events in the decade-long race to land astronauts on the moon

14H ago

Nature up close: The return of the bald eagle

Videographer Carl Mrozek on the recovery that America's national symbol has accomplished in the wild, thanks to the Endangered Species Act

16H ago

3 "amiable strangers" flew into history on Apollo 11

The crew of Apollo 11 came together by chance for the first moon landing

18H ago

NASA legends recall nerve-wracking moments before Apollo 11 landing

Astronaut Michael Collins, Mission Control flight director Gene Kranz and spacecraft communicator Charlie Duke recount the first manned landing on the moon

19H ago

"Good news" for those with genetic risk for Alzheimer's

Regardless of how much genetic risk someone has, a good diet, adequate exercise, limiting alcohol and not smoking made dementia less likely

19H ago

Infected pastor on bus brings Ebola outbreak to crowded Congo city

It's the 1st time the deadly virus has reached Goma, home to more than 2 million, since epidemic began almost a year ago

21H ago

Bowled over for breakfast

What happened when food blogger Wil Fulton tried an experiment of eating nothing but breakfast cereal for a week? And with egg sandwich sales increasing for breakfast, how are cereal makers trying to re-energize their brands?

Jul 14

Flesh-eating bacteria kills man after beach trip, family says

"12 hours after we were in the water, he woke up with a fever, chills and some cramping," his daughter wrote

Jul 13

Judge upholds ban on common abortion procedure in Oklahoma

"This ruling substantially interferes with our doctors' relationship with their patients," one clinic operator said

Jul 12

$5 billion fine reported for Facebook data-privacy violations

Facebook had allowed Trump vendor Cambridge Analytica to collect data from millions of users without their knowledge

12H ago

Why Walmart, eBay and others are banking on Amazon Prime Day

Rivals to Amazon are hitching their sales to the two-day Prime Day event — and there's evidence it may pay off

14H ago

Amazon Prime Day comes with protests over working conditions

Retailer's annual summer sale brings slew of demonstrations on issues that include work conditions and climate change

14H ago

Beware these scams on Amazon Prime Day

The two-day shopping event is likely to bring out scammers in search of your dollars and data

16H ago

Amazon Prime Day: Don't make these 4 mistakes

Amazon plans on offering 1 million deals to its Prime members starting Monday, but not everything will be a bargain

16H ago

Missing California mother who disappeared at campsite found

Sheryl Powell, 60, had been missing since Friday

9H ago

Death of activist ruled a homicide

A 75-year-old civil rights activist was found dead in the trunk of her own car. An autopsy found the preliminary cause of death for Sadie Roberts-Joseph was "traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation." Mireya Villarreal reports.

10H ago 01:50

Sergeant involved in fatal South Bend shooting resigns from police

Sergeant Ryan O'Neill was under investigation for the shooting of 54-year-old Eric Logan

9H ago

Death of African American history museum founder ruled a homicide

An autopsy determined that Sadie Roberts-Joseph died of "traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation"

10H ago

Man gets life plus 419 years in deadly Charlottesville car attack

James Alex Fields Jr., 22, received the sentence for killing one person and injuring dozens at the "Unite the Right" rally in 2017

9H ago

Watch: Apollo 11 launch on CBS 50 years ago today

50 years ago, CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite brought the frontier of outer space to televisions across America

11M ago

SpaceX identifies cause of Crew Dragon explosion

The company has been searching for the cause of a catastrophic explosion that destroyed an unmanned Crew Dragon spacecraft in April

10H ago

How to watch Apollo 11 50th anniversary live stream

50 years ago, millions of people were glued to their television sets as Apollo 11​ launched to the moon

14H ago

The path to Apollo 11: A timeline of the space race

A timeline of major events in the decade-long race to land astronauts on the moon

14H ago

3 "amiable strangers" flew into history on Apollo 11

The crew of Apollo 11 came together by chance for the first moon landing

18H ago

Manson Family murders: The terrifying story in pictures

A look at the cult slayings that shocked – and scared – America

Jul 3 44 photos

New on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon

Shows and movies you'll want to stream soon

Jun 24 33 photos

Evidence photos from the police shooting of Danroy "DJ" Henry Jr.

Evidence from the scene of Pace University student DJ Henry’s fatal encounter with Officer Aaron Hess in Mount Pleasant, N.Y.

Jun 22 19 photos

Apollo 11 50th anniversary: 50 photos from the moon

50 photos to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing

Jun 21 50 photos

Deadliest highway in every state

These are the highways with the highest rate of fatal crashes

Jun 20 50 photos

Popular

Americans pack Florida beach for Apollo launch

“I just hope they make it successfully and have no problem,” said a man who’d traveled from California to see Apollo 11 launch to the moon on July 16, 1969.

11H ago 02:35

Apollo 11 astronauts head to the launch

Despite a police escort, Aldrin, Armstrong, and Collins’ transfer van was stymied by traffic and arrived late at launch station 39A

11H ago 02:43

Cronkite kicks off report on Apollo 11

CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite reported early Tuesday morning, July 16, 1969, that the astronauts were pronounced “fit as a fiddle” and ready to fly.

11H ago 04:01

Apollo 11 astronauts get ready for mission

Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins appeared calm, joking and laughing as they ate dinner the night before their historic launch to the moon on July 16, 1969.

11H ago 01:36

7/15/19: Red and Blue

Pres. Trump standing by controversial tweets; Democrat divide over progressive policies

7H ago 47:51