Apollo 50-year Recollections
On May 25, 1961, newly-elected President John F. Kennedy proposed in an address to Congress, a national goal of "landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth" by the end of the decade. The Apollo program was conceived to achieve that goal. It was preceded by the Mercury Program, the nation's first effort to put a human in space, followed by the two-man Gemini spacecraft, a necessary step to extend spaceflight capability in support of Apollo. The first manned flight of Apollo occurred on October 11, 1968. Nine months later, on July 24, 1969, President Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth was achieved.