On this date in 1968, the first unmanned flight of the Apollo Lunar Module (LM1) lifted off. The Apollo 5 mission was supposed to take off the previous April, but after delays and failed tests, the lift off landed on January 22, 1968. The mission was deemed a success so the LM2 test flight was cancelled and they went straight to the LM3, flown on the Apollo 9 on March 3, 1969, which was the first manned flight with the Lunar Module, and then on July 16th, Apollo 11 lifted off with the Lunar Module Eagle, which would carry Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon.
Fast forward five years from that first LM mission, the first step to the small step for man, and giant leap for mankind, and on January 22nd, 1973, the crew of the Apollo 17, launched on December 7, 1972, is addressing Congress about their mission, which was the last moon landing.
That was it. Five years to the date, NASA had gone from the first step to that small step and giant leap, to sitting in front of Congress to tell them they had done it. They had accomplished everything they had to with regards to the moon in just five years. And more importantly, they had inspired millions and more. It was by no means a simple endeavor. In those five years, they reached the highest of highs and hit the lowest of lows, but always they kept going forward. They had a mission to achieve something that had never been done before, and they did it and completed it in just five years. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when inspired.