• Kyle Sooley-Brookings

How Canada Helped With The Moon Landing

The United States may have been the first country to land on the Moon, but Canada played a crucial role in making it happen.

NASA recruited a team of engineers from Canada after the cancellation of the Avro Arrow project in 1959.

The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow, often known simply as the Avro Arrow, was a delta-winged interceptor aircraft designed and built by Avro Canada.

The team had a major role in designing Apollo’s lunar excursion module, the LEM.

This was not the only Canadian connection.

Sudbury, Ontario was chosen as a stand-in for the Moon. It was used as a testing ground. Roughly 1.8 billion years ago, a comet slammed into what today is Sudbury, creating the Sudbury Basin.

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon. Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin formed the American crew that landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969.

Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface six hours and 39 minutes later on July 21; Aldrin joined him 19 minutes later. They spent about two and a quarter hours together outside the spacecraft, and they collected 21.5 kg of lunar material to bring back to Earth. Command module pilot Michael Collins flew the Command Module Columbia alone in lunar orbit while they were on the Moon's surface.

Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21 hours, 36 minutes on the lunar surface at a site they named Tranquility Base before lifting off to rejoin Columbia in lunar orbit.

Armstrong's first step onto the lunar surface was broadcast on live TV to a worldwide audience. He described the event as "one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind."

When the crew returned to Earth, they were picked up by an Aircraft Carrier. The divers passed biological isolation garments to the astronauts and assisted them in the life raft. The possibility of bringing back pathogens from the lunar surface was considered remote, but NASA took precautions at the recovery site. The astronauts were rubbed down with a sodium hypochlorite solution and Columbia wiped with Betadine to remove any lunar dust that might be present.