Command Module Columbia


Command module ''Columbia'' (CM-107) is the spacecraft that served as the command module during
Apollo 11 Apollo 11 was the spaceflight Spaceflight (or space flight) is an application of astronautics to fly spacecraft into or through outer space, either human spaceflight, with or uncrewed spaceflight, without humans on board. Most spacefli ...

Apollo 11
, which was the first mission to
land humans
land humans
on the
Moon The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite. At about one-quarter the diameter of Earth (comparable to the width of Australia (continent), Australia), it is the largest natural satellite in the Solar System relative to the size of its plane ...

. ''Columbia'' is the only spacecraft of the Apollo 11 mission that returned to
Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is Water distribution on Earth, covered wi ...

. The name ''Columbia'' was first suggested to Michael Collins by
Julian Scheer Julian Weisel Scheer (February 20, 1926 – September 1, 2001) was an American merchant mariner A sailor, seaman, mariner, or seafarer is a person who works aboard a watercraft as part of its crew, and may work in any one of a number of dif ...
, NASA assistant administrator of public affairs during the
Apollo program The Apollo program, also known as Project Apollo, was the third United States human spaceflight program carried out by the NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which succeeded in Moon landing, landing the first humans ...

Apollo program
. Scheer mentioned the name, in passing, in a phone conversation, saying "some of us up here have been kicking around ''Columbia''." Collins initially thought it was "a bit pompous" but the name eventually stuck as he could not think of a better alternative and his crewmates
Buzz Aldrin Buzz Aldrin (; born Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr., January 20, 1930) is an American former astronaut An astronaut (from the Greek "astron" (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and "nautes" (ναύτης), meaning "sailor") is a person trained, e ...

Buzz Aldrin
Neil Armstrong Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American astronaut An astronaut (from the Greek "astron" (ἄστρον), meaning "star", and "nautes" (ναύτης), meaning "sailor") is a person trained, equipp ...

Neil Armstrong
had no objections. Collins was also influenced to accept the name because of its similarity to ''
Columbiad The columbiad was a large-caliber In gun A gun is a designed to use a shooting tube () to launch typically solid s, but can also project pressurized (e.g. s/s, s for or , , and technically also s), (e.g. ) or even s (e.g. ). ...
'', the name of the
space gun A space gun, sometimes called a Verne gun because of its appearance in ''From the Earth to the Moon ''From the Earth to the Moon: A Direct Route in 97 Hours, 20 Minutes'' (french: De la Terre à la Lune, trajet direct en 97 heures 20 minutes) ...

space gun
Jules Verne Jules Gabriel Verne (;''Longman Pronunciation Dictionary John Christopher Wells (born 11 March 1939) is a British Phonetics, phonetician and Esperantist. Wells is a professor emeritus at University College London, where until his retirement ...

Jules Verne
's 1865 science fiction novel ''
From the Earth to the Moon ''From the Earth to the Moon: A Direct Route in 97 Hours, 20 Minutes'' (french: De la Terre à la Lune, trajet direct en 97 heures 20 minutes) is an 1865 novel by Jules Verne Jules Gabriel Verne (;''Longman Pronunciation Dictionary John ...
'', Following the mission and after a tour of U.S. cities, ''Columbia'' was given to the
Smithsonian Institution The Smithsonian Institution ( ), or simply, the Smithsonian, is a group of museums and education and research centers, the largest such complex in the world, created by the U.S. government "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge". Founded ...

Smithsonian Institution
in 1971. It was designated a "Milestone in Flight" and displayed prominently at
National Air and Space Museum#REDIRECT National Air and Space Museum
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National Air and Space Museum
in Washington, D.C., alongside the
1903 ''Wright Flyer''
1903 ''Wright Flyer''
. In July 2016 the Smithsonian released a 3D scan of ''Columbia'' produced by the Smithsonian's Digitization Program Office. During the scanning process a number of places where the astronauts had written on the walls of the capsule were found. These included a calendar and a warning about smelly waste on one of the lockers. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, the spacecraft traveled around the country on a tour to museums in
Houston Houston ( ) is the List of cities in Texas by population, most populous city in Texas, List of United States cities by population, fourth-most populous city in the United States, most populous city in the Southern United States, as well as th ...
St. Louis St. Louis () is the second-largest city in Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State ( ...
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh ( ) is a city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States and the county seat of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County. A population of 302,971 residents lives within the city limit ...
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (where the palm is facing to the front) ...
, and
Cincinnati Cincinnati ( ) is a city in the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory where it shares its with the ...

See also

* Lunar Module ''Eagle''


Further reading

* {{Apollo program hardware Apollo 11 Spacecraft which reentered in 1969 Individual space vehicles Buzz Aldrin Neil Armstrong Michael Collins (astronaut) Crewed spacecraft Apollo program hardware Spacecraft launched by Saturn rockets Spacecraft that orbited the Moon Individual spacecraft in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution Spacecraft launched in 1969