Forty-five years ago on Saturday, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon as they touched down on the Sea of Tranquility.
On July 20, 1969, President Richard Nixon also entered the record books – with the longest phone call ever made.
During the first 24 hours onto the lunar surface, Armstrong and Aldrin received a telephone call from Nixon. The call took place at about midnight, so a few reports say the call happened on July 21.
The official AT&T Tech YouTube Channel offers historical footage of the event, which Nixon later said was “the most historic phone call ever made from the White House.”
How did Nixon call the moon?
According to the AT&T, the phone call went from the Oval Office in Washington D.C. directly to Houston, then was routed into space via Mission Control, transmitted to CapCom, the designation of astronaut Bruce McCandless II, who served as capsule communicator.
Five years ago, on the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, AT&T released audio of both the president’s call and of the entire mission.
Days later, Nixon personally greeted the returning Apollo 11 astronauts on the U.S.S. Hornet, which had picked up the recovery spacecraft.
Formed in 1962, BellComm supplied technical and project management support for the manned space flight program. Later, the relationship would grow to include engineering, communications and analysis. BellComm disbanded in 1972.