After the crew of Apollo 10 named their spacecraft Charlie Brown and Snoopy, assistant manager for public affairs Julian Scheer wrote to Manned Spacecraft Center director George M. Low to suggest the Apollo 11 crew be less flippant in naming their craft. During early mission planning, the names Snowcone and Haystack were used and put in the news release, but the crew later decided to change them.
The Command Module was named Columbia after the Columbiad, the giant cannon shell “spacecraft” fired by a giant cannon (also from Florida) in Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon. The Lunar Module was named Eagle for the national bird of the United States, the bald eagle, which is featured prominently on the mission insignia.
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Sunday marked the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing, when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step into the lunar world.
To commemorate the anniversary, NASA-TV will broadcast restored footage of Armstrong and Aldrin’s historic-making landing at 7:39 p.m., the exact time Armstrong opened up the hatch on July 20, 1969.
NASA will honor Armstrong, who died in 2012, with a renaming ceremony at the Eagle’s launch site in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Monday.
Aldrin and other Apollo 11 crew members were expected to be on hand for the ceremony.
This story aired on the KTLA 5 Morning News on July 20, 2014.