During a Kennedy Space Center (KSC) briefing on the next day’s Apollo 11 launch, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia (with raised hand) asks a question of Rocco A. Petrone, director of launch operations at KSC. To the right of the emperor is astronaut Gordon Cooper and to his left is Dr. Kurt Debus, director of KSC. The first manned lunar launch occurred at 9:32 am on July 16, 1969. The crew included astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, Command Module (CM) pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module (LM) pilot. After 21/2 hours of collecting samples on the lunar surface, the crew safely splashed down into the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969. With the success of Apollo 11, the national objective to land men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth had been accomplished.