Does this photo show Neil Armstrong’s family watching him blast off to the moon?

Does this photo show Neil Armstrong’s family watching him blast off to the moon?

A photo authentically shows the family of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong watching his launch to the moon from Cape Canaveral in 1969.


On May 10, 2023, a Reddit account share a photograph on the r/AlternateAngles subreddit showing astronaut Neil Armstrong’s wife and two sons watching the Apollo 11 launch to the moon in 1969:

Neil Armstrong's family attends Apollo 11 lunar mission launch
(Image Via r/AlternateAngles/Original photo by Vernon Merritt III)

The photograph is authentic. Through reverse image search, we found that the the photograph did indeed appear in an undated LIFE magazine retrospective titled “Apollo 11: What Liftoff Was Like”. However, similar photos of the occasion appeared in the July 25, 1969 edition of LIFE.

The photo was taken by Vernon Merritt III, a photographer for the magazine, and captioned: ‘Armstrong’s wife Jan with sons Erik and Mark watching the Apollo 11 launch from the deck of a ship praised for them by LIFE magazine.

Liftoff took place on July 16, 1969 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Subsequently, Armstrong, along with two other astronauts, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins, successfully landed on the moon on July 20.

The main objective of the Apollo 11 mission, according to Nasa, was “to achieve a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961: to perform a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth”. Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to land on the moon.

Snopes has previously verified other claims about the Apollo 11 mission, such as whether Armstrong missed his first words on the moon, whether astronauts took off their helmets on the moon, and whether Aldrin said he never went. on the moon.

Since the photo is real and comes from a reliable source, we rate the claim as “true”.


“Apollo 11: How Ralph Morse Got Those Famous, Crazy Liftoff Photos.” LIFE, July 1, 2014,

Inc., Time. LIFE. Time Inc, 1969.

Loof, Sarah. “Apollo 11 Mission Overview.” NASA, April 17, 2015,

“The Moon Landing.” History, August 8, 2016,


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