The Apollo 11 mission, the first manned lunar mission, launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida via the Saturn V launch vehicle on July 16, 1969 and safely returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. Leaving a wide plume of flame as it climbed into the thin atmosphere of high altitude, the 363 foot tall, 6,400,000 pound Saturn V rocket hurled the spacecraft into Earth parking orbit and then placed it on the trajectory to the moon. The Saturn V was developed by the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) under the direction of Dr. Wernher von Braun. Aboard the spacecraft were astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, Command Module (CM) pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module (LM) pilot. With the success of Apollo 11, the national objective to land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth had been accomplished.