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The first flag on the moon

DKH_18Sidewalk Photographer Alex Richman and the intrepid Mrs. Richman covered a lot of ground (more than six miles on foot) in Washington D.C. during the last weekend of July.

One of the photographs he took (shown below) was of the Lunar Module #2-Apollo, which was never used on a lunar mission.  Now on display at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, it is a stunning exhibit (and no doubt one of the more expensive ones—but less expensive I suppose, than an entire moon mission). (Click into the photo icons for larger images.)


lunar module #2---ApolloAlex’s photo reminded me of a previous Daily Flag article and my subsequent search for photos of the Eagle Lunar Module, used in the the first moon landing. I had concluded that the first flag on the moon surely was mounted on the Eagle L.M.  I spent several hours searching for photos then, but came up empty-handed. I think I was searching using the words Eagle lander instead of lunar module, and I was in the Library of Congress web site instead of the Smithsonian.

But thanks to Alex, my interest in the Eagle L.M. was renewed, and he pointed me in the right direction.

And this time I found what I was looking for.

upside-down lunar module Eagle with US flag visible

The "upside-down" Eagle lunar module is on its way to the surface of the moon. Just to the right of the center ladder, and toward the bottom, the U.S. flag is visible.


lm_apollo11_big.jpg decent

Earth, Moon and Eagle lunar module perfectly captured in one frame by astronaut Michael Collins.



In this photo, the flag is hard to see, but it is to the right, and about even with Buzz Aldrin’s helmet.


NASA photo of lander with visible US flag 

Three flags are shown in this photo: the one on the lunar module—visible just to the right and slightly above the astronaut’s helmet. The second flag is on the astronaut’s life-pack (I don’t know the proper name for it), and the third flag—one of the most famous in the world—the one Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin "planted" on the moon.

So now I know what the first flag on the moon was, and so do you—for next time this question comes up on a trivia game!

4 thoughts on “The first flag on the moon

  1. The first flag on the Moon was Russian miniature flag scattered by Luna 2 in 1959

    1. Oh I had never heard that before. I will have to do some homework. Thanks for writing. Best Wishes, Deborah Hendrick

  2. Is it just me, or is it somehow demeaning that a REAL spaceship is right next to the food court. I find that juxtapostion very telling.

    But thanks for the pics, they’re great!

    1. I had not thought about the location of the (very real) lunar modude before your comment, Cesare. I suspect display space in the Smithsonian is so highly prized, that being next to the food court is of no consequence. I think we’d be stunned if we realized what the Smithsonian has in storage, because there’s not enough room to display it. Yes—agreed that the photos are great. Alex Richman has a splendid eye, and the NASA photos are just amazing.

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