An Excel worksheet with Apollo 11 timeline can be used to analyze and breakdown the astronaut’s movements plus answer the big question: what time was it when Armstrong walked on the moon?
What time did Neil Armstrong walk on the moon?
The time of the great event is a surprisingly confused issue. People’s memories of 50 years ago are vague and the International Date Line mixes up whether it happened on Sunday 20th July or Monday 21st July.
Armed with the Apollo 11 timeline in Excel plus the Time() function you can show the date/time in any time zone. Here’s the landing and first step in GMT, Houston (Daylight saving) and Sydney, Australia time.
That matches Peter Deegan’s memory as a 9-year-old sitting eagerly in front of the black and white TV. Surprisingly, some people’s memories are different …they swear the First Step was in the evening Sydney time!
Changing a date/time to another time zone is easy The TIME() function converts hours, minutes, seconds into an Excel decimal value, then just add/subtract
For Houston -Time(5,0.0) subtracts 5 hours from GMT (Houston is -6 GMT plus 1 hour for daylight savings in July 1969). Traditionally, NASA space missions work off Houston time where Mission Control is located..
Sydney, Australia is +10 GMT so +Time(10,0,0) applies.
We combined the separate GMT Date and GMT Time columns into a single column simply using =[@[GMT Date]]+[@[GMT Time]] . The GMT Date & Time column can be formatted any way you like while keeping the original data separate.
We looked for a list of the pictures taken on the moon with the time each was taken (probably as Ground Elapsed Time). The data exists but not in a tabular form that we could find.
For example, the famous photo of Buzz Aldrin was taken at 110:42:14 GET code AS11-40-5903 (Apollo 11 – Film magazine 40 – Sequential Number 5903)
Apollo 11 photo: AS11-40-5903 . Buzz Aldrin with Neil Armstrong reflected in his visor.
Armed with those details, we added that event into the Apollo 11 Timeline. The photo was taken after Buzz had been on the surface for almost an hour and just after Neil had finished the bulk moonrock collection.
Presumably someone has a list of the Apollo 11 photos with image reference and GET. If so, it would be an interesting exercise to take the two lists and merge them into a single timeline.
The excellent video Moonscape plays the Apollo 11 moonwalk video/s and adds some still images as you can see the astronaut taking the photo
Moonscape.info – Buzz Aldrin descending to the moon’s surface still (left) and video (right) . GET at top right.
Time on the Moon or in Orbit
With the Ground Elapsed Time column, we can break out the timelines for Armstrong (CDR), Aldrin (LMP) and Collins (CMP) while they were separated.
LM on Moon starts from touchdown ‘Tranquility Base, the Eagle has landed’. As you can see, it took about 2.5 hours for Armstrong and Aldrin to descend from the Command Module to the surface (CMP Solo in orbit). Almost 3 hours getting into their spacesuits and PLSS (Portable Life Support System) from ‘Preparation for EVA started’.
CDR on Moon the ‘One Small Step …’ was 6.5 hours after touchdown and over 9 hours since the Lunar Module (LM) detached from the Command Module in orbit.
LMP on Moon. Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface 19 minutes after Armstrong (as planned).
CMP in orbit the elapsed time Mike Collins (CMP) and the Command Module orbited the Moon while Neil and Buzz had ‘fun’ on the surface.