With a successful launch, Apollo 11 headed to the moon. 10

from book

After breakfast on July 16, the astronauts headed to the suit room. They installed their urine-collection devices and fitted their oxygen supplies and spacesuits, locking their plastic bubble helmets into place.  Next, they took an elevator up the huge launch tower, and crossed a bridge into the Apollo spacecraft. Ground crew began buckling them in, and the astronauts spent a couple of hours preparing the capsule for launch. The countdown went perfectly. At T minus nine seconds, the Saturn’s huge first-stage engines ignited. At 9:32 a.m., the launch tower’s arms detached from the rocket, and the 6.5-million-pound machine blasted off into the sky, with the Apollo spacecraft securely attached to it.  At 40 miles up, almost three minutes into the flight, the astronauts were jerked forward as the rocket’s first-stage fuel capsule detached and fell back into the sea. Seconds later, the Saturn’s second stage took over with its smaller engines, carrying them 110 miles high before detaching itself. The third stage, with even smaller engines, carried them the remaining few miles into orbit. The Saturn rocket was now gone.  The next stage, translunar injection (TLI), involved another engine accelerating the spacecraft to 24,258 miles per hour. This would carry them to the moon. After orbiting Earth twice, Apollo 11 was 100 miles above Australia and in the correct position for TLI. The crew flawlessly fired the engine, and they were on their way to the moon. To get there, though, the crew needed to put their spacecraft in a “barbecue roll.” Because the temperature on the sun-facing side of the craft was far higher than elsewhere, Collins used small thrusters to put it into a slow rotation – one revolution every 20 minutes. This evened out temperatures across the craft, preventing technical problems. The danger of launch was over – but many more danger points would lie ahead upon arrival at the moon. In the meantime, though, crew members got out of their bulky spacesuits and started to prepare dinner, which consisted of food packets rehydrated with hot water. Their first meal was chicken salad, shrimp cocktail and applesauce. With no gravity in space, eating – like almost every other task – was challenging, to say the least. And with no sunset to indicate night and day, the crew relied on watches and their own bodies’ rhythms to figure out when to go to sleep. They would close the window blinds, zip up inside sleeping bags and loosely tether themselves to the craft, dozing in mid-air. It would be three days before they arrived at the moon.