1969-07-16 USA Apollo 11

On July 16, 1969, the 363 ft tall Apollo 11 spacecraft was launched from the Kennedy Space Center to accomplish its mission - land two men on the lunar surface and return them safely to Earth. The spacecraft carried a crew of three; Mission Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins, and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin E. Aldrin Jr.

Photo: The Apollo 11 lunar landing mission crew, pictured from left to right, Neil Armstrong (holding a plaque that will be left on the moon), Buzz Aldrin (holding the Apollo 11 insignia) and Michael Collins during news conference at the Space Center on July 5, 1969.
Apollo 11 official NASA cachet on cover with a Kennedy Space Center machine cancel. Hand-painted cachet by Alec Bartos, the Romanian Astrophilately Chairman, visual artist and stamp designer. Alec painted this cover with contents carried in Armstrong's Personal Preference Kit (PPK) - a piece of wood from the Wright brothers' 1903 airplane's left propeller, a piece of muslin fabric from its upper left wing, a gold olive branch pin that was left on the Moon's surface.
Photo: Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong having breakfast before their historic flight on July 16, 1969.
Apollo 11 crew-signed cover with a small stick-on Apollo 11 emblem label. The autographs by Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong were likely obtained before the Apollo 11 flight, later affixed with an "Apollo 8" 8¢ U.S. stamp and cancelled July 16, 1969 (the date of the launch) with Kennedy Space Center machine cancel. It is believed that this cover was once owned by space cover collector, Amanda Hoerschgen.
Photo: "Commander Neil Armstrong (right) waited in his spacesuit and watched technicians finish dressing the other members of the Apollo 11 crew, Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin. The two were on reclining chairs designed to make their suiting up as easy as possible. UPI Telephoto. July 16, 1969."
Apollo 11 crew-signed "Type 2" Dow-Unicover Insurance Cover with an "Apollo 8" 8¢ U.S. stamp affixed and cancelled July 16, 1969 (the date of the launch) with Kennedy Space Center machine cancel. Signed by Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
Photo: Neil Armstrong in his space suit, preparing for the launch of Apollo 11.
On July 21, 1969, at 12.56 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (i.e. July 20, 1969, at 10:56 pm EDT), 600 million people around the world watched Neil Armstrong first step on the Moon. Eight and a half minutes after those first historic images were broadcast, NASA chosen Parkes (due to its superior image quality) as the source of the remaining two hours and 12 minutes of live broadcast. Above cover with a stamped CSIRO ANRAO Parkes cachet, cancelled at Parkes on July 21, 1969 at 12:30pm.
Photo: TV images of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.
Apollo 11 First Man On The Moon (Space City Cover Society) cover cancelled with a Houston postmark on July 20, 1969. Signed by Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon.
TV image of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.
Apollo 11 crew-signed "Type 1" Insurance Cover originally from the personal collection of mission lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin. This "NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club Official Commemorative Cover First Manned Lunar Exploration" with a color cachet, 6.5" x 3.625", has an "Apollo 8" 8¢ U.S. stamp affixed and cancelled July 20, 1969 (the date of the moon landing), at Houston, Texas. Signed by Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, all in blue felt tip to the right of the cachet.

This cover was given directly to the consignor in June 1986 at Warsaw, Poland by Dr. Aldrin in appreciation for the three days he spent in his home. They had a mutual friend and Aldrin stopped in Warsaw on his way from Moscow back to the United States to visit Poland. The consignor met him at the airport, opened his home to him, and aided him in getting around the city for meetings.- Heritage Auctions
Apollo 11 crew-signed "Type 1" Insurance Cover originally from the personal collection of mission lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin, with signed LOA. This "NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Stamp Club Official Commemorative Cover First Manned Lunar Exploration" with a color cachet, 6.5" x 3.625", has an "Apollo 8" 8¢ U.S. stamp affixed and cancelled July 20, 1969 (the date of the moon landing), at Houston, Texas. Signed by Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin, all in blue felt tip to the right of the cachet. This cover is mounted to a signed Letter of Authenticity on Aldrin's personal letterhead. 

This is one of the three designs of the Apollo 11 insurance cover, a tradition that began with this flight. The astronauts would all sign a certain quantity of these covers to be left on Earth as a contingency against their failing to return safely from the moon. In the case of a tragedy, the covers would be sold with the proceeds benefiting their families, not unlike an insurance policy. - Heritage Auctions
Apollo 11 lunar module, Eagle, took off from the moon at 1:54 p.m. on July 21, 1969, leaving its descent stage behind as planned. To lighten their load on the ride into orbit, the astronauts left several other items behind, including two still cameras, their portable life support systems and their boots.
Photo: "ASTRONAUTS Charles "Pete" Conrad (left) and Alan L. Bean, flight commander and lunar module pilot respectively for the Apollo 12 spaceflight, watch the tracking screen at Mission Control, Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Tex, Monday as Apollo 11 lunar module lift off from the moon took place. Conrad and Bean followed the Apollo 11 lunar module operation closely as Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin gave them a preview of events to come."
It took four hours for Eagle to meet up with Columbia, the command module, which the astronauts ride back home. The two spacecraft docked at 5:35 p.m., reuniting the Apollo 11 crew. At 7:42 p.m., the astronauts jettisoned Eagle and getting ready for the trip back to Earth. At 12:56 a.m. on July 22, Apollo 11 began its journey home.
The Apollo 11 astronauts carried to the moon a blank cover affixed with an imperforated C76 moon landing stamp and a postal rubber stamp stating "MOON LANDING JUL 20 1969 USA". Due to the busy schedule to complete various tasks on the moon, the astronauts forgot to postmark the unique cover on the moon. The postmarking was done while on their return to earth on July 22, 1969. Before the actual  flight of Apollo 11, Dr. Matthew I. Radnofsky simulated cancelling in space in his laboratory. He prepared four proof covers as well as 150 specimens for philatelic reference.

Top: Specimen cover no. 35 of 150, with a "MOON LANDING JUL 20 1969 USA" postmark applied by Dr. Matthew I. Radnofsky for philatelic reference before the actual flight of Apollo 11.
Bottom: Reverse of the same cover shows a "Webster Aug 11, 1969" machine postmark and a "Delayed in Quarantine at Lunar Receiving Laboratory, M.S.C - Houston, Texas" handstamp cancelled on the back of the cover. These were later applied on the 214 covers that were flown to the moon, carried by Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins in their Personal Preference Kits. - Auktionshaus Felzmann
Columbia entered Earth's atmosphere at 12:35 p.m. on July 24, 1969, at times heating up so much that communications were interrupted by the supercharged atmosphere surrounding the spacecraft. Houston Mission Control starts calling Apollo 11 after 4 minutes of blackout as the spacecraft re-enters earth.
All went as planned, the crew safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 12:51 p.m., about 950 miles (1,527 kilometers) southwest of Honolulu and only 15 miles (24 kilometers) from recovery ship USS Hornet. Above USS Hornet CSV-12 recovery ship postcard with Beck rubber stamped cachet, hand cancelled on July 24, 1969.
After the drogue chute deployed, the recovery forces took over the airwaves to communicate with the Apollo 11 crew.
Above Apollo 11 US Navy Recovery Force cover with a printed cachet of splash-down, machine cancelled July 24, 1969.
Beck printed cachet cover B804 cachet was meant for USS Goldsborough, but this one went to USS Hornet. So far this is the only one observed.
Apollo 11 Orbit Covers with Beck rubber stamped cachet. The USS Hornet machine cancel here is a variation with centered AM time slug. Signed by William R Carpentier, the NASA flight surgeon who gave the astronauts a verbal physical check when they were hoisted up to the recovery helicopter one at a time.
Photo: President Nixon meet the Apollo 11 crew while in their quarantine station aboard USS Hornet.
Top: Apollo 11 USS Hornet Captain's cover with hand cancelled USS Hornet postmark. 6,000 copies of this envelope were produced by the ship's commanding officer. Signed by Captain Carl J. Seiberlich.
Apollo 11 USS Hornet recovery ship cover with a variation of hand cancel without the AM time slug. This cover was signed by William Pierce Rogers who served as President Richard M. Nixon's Secretary of State from January 22, 1969, until September 3, 1973.
Apollo 11 USS Hornet recovery ship cover with an unusual variation of hand cancel that has the time slug above the year 1969. 
USS Arlington (AGMR-2) served as President Nixon's "Floating White House" during the Apollo 11 recovery. While USS Hornet was the primary recovery ship, USS Arlington provided communications support. After the Apollo 11 recovery both ships steamed for Pearl Harbour with Hornet arriving first. While most USS Arlington ship covers have a Honolulu postmark, only a small quantity cancelled with "USS Arlington" as shown here.
Photo: The Apollo 11 crew held their first press conference on August 12, 1969, after they were released from quarantine.
Photo: Buzz Aldrin waved to the crowds who came to greet the Apollo 11 astronauts at a ticker tape parade in downtown Houston on August 16, 1969.
Photo: The Apollo 11 astronauts presented a model of the lunar landing module to George Paul Miller, US Representative from California, on September 16, 1969.