Grumman Corp., located in Bethpage, New York was the birthplace of the Lunar Module Eagle that made the first ever moon landing. In fact, it is the birthplace of all the Lunar Modules that landed men on the moon from July 20 1969 to Dec 11 1972. The lunar module was a two-stage vehicle designed for space operations near and on the Moon. The spacecraft mass of 15,103 kg was the total mass of the Lunar Modules (LM) ascent and descent stages including propellants (fuel and oxidizer).
Also included on the Lunar Module was the Early Apollo Scientific Experiment Package (EASEP), which consisted of several self-contained experiments to be deployed and left on the lunar moon surface, and other scientific and sample collection apparatus. The Apollo 11 Lunar Module (LM) "Eagle" was the first ever crewed vehicle to land on the Moon.
At 9:32 a.m. EDT on July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 took off from Kennedy Space Center with astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins aboard. Armstrong, a 38-year-old civilian research pilot, was the commander of the mission. After traveling 240,000 miles in 76 hours, Apollo 11 entered into a lunar orbit on July 19. The next day, at 1:46 p.m., the lunar module Eagle, manned by Armstrong and Aldrin, separated from the command module, where Collins remained. Two hours later, the Eagle began its descent to the lunar surface, and at 4:17 p.m. the craft touched down on the southwestern edge of the Sea of Tranquility. Armstrong immediately radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, a now-famous message: "The Eagle has landed."
On July 20, 1969, Commander Neil A. Armstrong and pilot Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., were the first men to walk on the Moon. They became the first humans ever to land on the moon's surface. Upon taking a "small step" onto the surface of the moon in 1969 at 02:56:15 UT on 21 July (10:56:15 p.m. July 20 EDT). The journey to the Moon would last 4 days, 6 hours and 45 minutes. Neil Armstrong uttered what would become one of history's most famous one-liners. But strangely, what he actually said is far from clear. Listeners back on Earth heard, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." But Armstrong , who died at the age of 82 on Aug. 25, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio, maintained afterwards that he actually said something slightly different: "That's one small step for a man."
Buzz Aldrin officially became the second human to walk on the Moon 19 minutes after Neil A. Armstrong did. Of the 21 hours and 36 minutes spent on the Moons surface, Armstrong and Aldrin spent 2.5 hours outside the module collecting data, setting up experiments and taking pictures. An estimated 650 million people tuned in to watch the event on television world wide. The Apollo 11 mission occurred eight years after President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) announced a national goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Apollo 17, the final manned moon mission, took place in 1972.
During the Apollo Program, Grumman built 13 Lunar Modules, with six of those landing on the moon from 1969 to 1972. The 13th and final Lunar Module was never flown and is on permanent loan from the Smithsonian Institution to the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Long Island, NY. On November 7, 1962, NASA announced that the Grumman-proposed engineering concept had been chosen as the winning design. Eleven days later, a team of Grumman engineers was onsite in Houston. (The actual contract would be signed on January 14, 1963.)
In March 1969, the first crewed mission of the Lunar Module took place; 2 months later, the Lunar Module entered lunar orbit for the first time. Thomas J. Kelly, who served as the engineering manager and eventually deputy program manager for the Lunar Module Program at Grumman at the time of the historic first moon landing was quoted as saying "Remember, there are six descent stages today sitting on the moon... with a 'Made in Bethpage, New York' nameplate on them. And that’s something that thousands of Grummanites take great pride in." Apollo Lunar Modules was the first crewed spacecraft to operate exclusively in the airless vacuum of space, and remains the only crewed vehicle to land anywhere beyond Earth. Eventually ten lunar modules were launched into space.
Grumman Corporation, the maker of the lunar modules, closed its Bethpage, Long Island, NY manufacturing facility in 1994. Founded on December 6, 1929, by Leroy Grumman and his business partners, the company was acquired by Northrop for $2.1 billion in 1994 to form Northrop Grumman. The new company closed its manufacturing facilities on Long Island and converted the Bethpage plant to what's now called the Bethpage Business Park office complex. In 2007 Parviz Farahzad founded Lunar Module Park, LLC and opened up Grumman Studios in 2009. Grumman Studios, currently located adjacent to Bethpage Business Park office complex, sits on the 30-acre site where the old Grumman plant once stood that was known as the birth of the Apollo Lunar Modules that placed man on the moon. The original blue Grumman landmark dome atop the facility has been repainted red for the new studio.
In 2019 the Bethpage community celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. A local Bethpage park was renamed Apollo Park, in honor of the building of the lunar modules at the former Grumman facility, and a replica of the Lunar Module was on hand for everyone to see. The location of the newly named Apollo park is off of Hickey Boulevard near the Apollo of Bethpage Retirement Home. Many of the retirees living at the home were instrumental in helping get the Apollo Program off the ground in the late 1960’s. “Many of the people here worked on the Apollo Program and there were thousands of people at Grumman working around the clock to accomplish the goal of walking on the moon,” said Jim Stefanich, Town Receiver of Taxes.