Over the moon: How the Apollo 11 crew learned they were chosen

This week marks the 50th anniversary of man’s historic moon landing. If you ever wondered how the crew that became the first to make it to the moon learned they had been chosen, here is the back story.

On Christmas Eve, 1968, Apollo 8 becomes the first mission to orbit the moon. It is during that flight that astronaut Deke Slayton took the first steps to assemble the crew that would land on the moon.

At the time, astronaut Neil Armstrong is working at Mission Control in Houston.

James Hansen, author of the space history book "First Man" recounts the momentous conversation Deke Slayton, chief of the Astronaut Office and director of Flight Crew Operations, has with Neil Armstrong.

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“Neil, I’d like to talk to you for a minute," Slayton says.

The men go into a back room.

Slayton tells Armstrong that he’s going to be the commander of  the Apollo 11 mission and also drops the bombshell:

The Apollo 11 mission will probably be the first landing attempt on the moon.

At the time, Apollo 8 is in flight and the Apollo 9 and Apollo 10 missions still need to fly before Armstrong's crew will get their turn.

Along with Armstrong, Slayton selected Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to form the three-man crew of Apollo 11.

In less than a year, they would make history, landing on the moon on July 20, 1969.

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