• Published 27th Jul 2013
  • 7,922 Views, 99 Comments

One small step - Jazzaman

July 16th 1969 from the eyes of a pony

  • ...


‘We copy you down, Eagle.

Houston, Tranquility Base here.’

‘The Eagle has landed.’

“Houston, this is Neil. Radio check.” The voice of the commander called through the relay.

“Neil, this is Houston. Break, Break. Buzz, this is Houston. Radio check and verify TV circuit breaker in,” Bruce McCandless responded from his position at mission control, a quarter of a million miles away.

“Roger, TV circuit breakers in, and read you five square,” Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin chimed.

“Roger. We’re getting a picture on the TV,” Capsule communications called back.

“You got a good picture, huh?” The lunar module pilot asked.

“There’s a great deal of contrast in it, and currently it’s upside down on our monitors, but we can make out a fair amount of detail.”

“Okay. Will you verify the position- the opening I ought to have on the camera?” Edwin asked.

“Stand by.”

The picture flickered to life all across the globe. Millions upon millions of people and ponies all turned their attention towards their fuzzy TV sets. Weather they be at home, on the street looking into a store, or in a bar watching with a drink in hand.

Or in Rainbow Dash’s case. Huddled around the screen with her five other friends in their high-class hotel room, sitting a scant few inches from the fascinating box.

The six elements, plus both princesses had travelled to Earth to witness the event, seeing as there was no way for television signals to be broadcast between the worlds. Rainbow was elated to discover that the landing was not only televised, but that they had also scored a room with a TV in it.

“Okay. Neil, we can see you coming down the ladder now,” the voice of capsule communications said in it’s telltale staticy voice.

The voice of the man, not ten feet from the moon responded. “Okay. I just checked getting back up to that first step, Buzz. It’s- not even collapsed too far, but it’s adequate to get back up.”

“Roger. We copy,” Houston replied for Buzz.

Rainbow felt giddy with excitement. To hear of the moon landing was one thing. To be privileged enough to see it? Rainbow had never felt luckier in her life. Back on Equestria, bearing witness to an event like this would have probably only been reserved to nobles and those who could afford to attend a magical screening. Yet here on Earth, it was being broadcast around the entire globe, for all to witness, free of charge.

“It takes a pretty good little jump,” Neil Armstrong commented, bouncing up and down on the ladder of the lander.

“Buzz, this is Houston. two- one-one hundred sixty th second for shadow photography on the sequence camera.”


Neil spoke up. “I’m at the foot of the ladder. The Lem footpads are only depressed in the surface about one or two inches, although the surface appears to be very, very fine grained, as you get close to it. It’s almost like a powder. Down there, it’s very fine.”

The astronaut approached the lunar soil tentatively. The entire world below them held its breath for the upcoming event. Never had an event been so anticipated before throughout the entire planet.

“I’m going to step off the lem now,” Armstrongs radio crackled.

One human nine-and-a-half-sized pressurized boot found its way onto the surface on another world. The weight of a living, breathing human being was being supported by the orb that had so long taunted them from the night sky.

“That’s one small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind.”

There they were. The words that would be forever remember. The single most memorized and quoted phrase in human history. The words that would stick with humanity for the rest of the races existence. The words that, for one brief, shining moment, unified the planet.

Since the dawn of humanity, they had only sped up. Forever developing, inventing, discovering. Looking back was considered irrelevant, their greatest asset was their minds. Progress was survival, and this gave birth to anger.

Disagreements turned into arguments. Arguments to fights. Fights to war, it just got worse and worse. But, on July twentieth, nineteen sixty-nine. It all paused.

A single man had achieved peace. If only for a few moments, he had done what world leaders had failed to in the entirety of history. And he had done so, by doing one simple thing.

He walked on the moon.

“And the—the surface is fine and powdery. I can—I can pick it up loosely with my toe. It does adhere in fine layers like powdered charcoal to the sole and sides of my boots. I only go in a small fraction of an inch, maybe an eighth of an inch, but I can see the footprints of my boots and the treads in the fine, sandy particles,” the moonwalker continued.

“Neil, this is Houston. We’re copying,” Bruce spoke up from his seat at CAPCOM back on Earth.

“There seems to be no difficulty in moving around as we suspected. It's even perhaps easier than the simulations at one sixth G that we performed in the various simulations on the ground. It's actually no trouble to walk around. Okay. The descent engine did not leave a crater of any size. It has about one foot clearance on the ground. We're essentially on a very level place here. I can see some evidence of rays emanating from the descent engine, but a very insignificant amount.”

“Okay Buzz, we ready to bring the camera down?”

“I’m all ready. I think it’s been squared away and in good shape,” Edwin responded.


“Okay. you’ll have to pay out all the LEC. It looks like it’s coming out nice and evenly.” Buzz commented.

“Okay. It’s quite dark here in the shadow and a little hard for me to see that I have good footing. I’ll work my way over into the sunlight here without looking directly into the Sun.” Neil said as he began to work upon the Lunar Equipment Conveyor.

“Okay it’s taunt now.”

Buzz looked over. “Okay. I think you’re pulling the wrong one.”

“I’m just- Okay. I’m ready to pull it down now. There was still a little bit left in the-”

“Okay. Don’t hold it quite so tight,” Buzz cautioned.


Neil began again. “Looking up at the lem, I’m standing directly in the shadow now looking up at Buzz in the window. And I can see everything quite clearly. The light is sufficiently bright, backlighted into the front of the lem, that everything is clearly visible.”

“Okay. I’m going to be changing the ***” Houston never did catch that part, but it didn’t subtract from the power of the event.

“Okay. The camera is installed on the RCU bracket, and I’m storing the LEC on the secondary strut.” Neil spoke.

“I’ll step out and take some of my first pictures here,” he added.

“Roger. Neil, we’re reading you loud and clear. We see you getting some pictures and the contingency sample,” CAPCOM chirped, however Armstrong failed to respond. Too lost in the moment.

“Neil, this is Houston. Did you copy about the contingency sample? Over.”

“Roger. I’m going to get to that just as soon as I finish these picture series.”

Buzz spoke up from inside the module, “Okay. Going to get the contingency sample there, Neil,” he repeated.

“Right,” Neil replied, making his way over to the sample.

“Okay. That’s good.”

“Okay. The contingency sample is down and it's ***. Looks like it's a little difficult to dig through the initial crust.” Neil commented, his message garbling slightly.

“This is very interesting. It's a very soft surface, but here and there where I plug with the contingency sample collector, I run into a very hard surface, but it appears to be very cohesive material of the same sort. I'll try to get a rock in here. Just a couple.”

“That looks beautiful from here, Neil,” Buzz commented from the window of the Lunar Excursion module.

“It has a stark beauty all its own. It's like much of the high desert of the United States. It's different but it's very pretty out here. Be advised that a lot of the rock samples out here, the hard rock samples, have what appear to be vesicles in the surface. Also, I am looking at one now that appears to have some sort of phenocryst,” Armstrong replied.

CAPCOM chimed in. “Roger. Houston. Out.”

The rest of the broadcast continued much in the same fashion. Buzz soon joined his partner upon the surface, and both engaged into the set task they had been given. All the while, Rainbow sat glued to the screen. Some of her friends, mainly Rarity and Fluttershy had lost interest, watching the grainy images. Rainbow and Twilight were riveted firmly to the soft carpet floor, watching every detail they were given.

The visuals were simply amazing. Rainbow had a hard enough time trying to wrap her head around how they could film something, then put it into this tiny box. All without using any kind of film or projector.

Another layer of mind boggling assaulted the mare when she tried to figure out how they did it wirelessly all the way from the moon. Twilight had tried to explain it was being picked up by some Radio receiver in Australia, but that just confused her more.

Finally, Applejack spoke up. “Ah don’t see why this is such a big deal. Ah mean, we did this a thousand years ago, without no fancy science.”

Rainbow looked over to the Apple farmer like she had grown a second head. “Are you serious, AJ? This is the most amazing thing i’ve ever seen! They did this! These humans”- she pointed to the TV- “Did what pegasi have only fantasied of doing!”

“Yeah, but Luna did it,” Applejack responded, clearly not seeing how much this occasion meant to the mare.

“Yes because Celestia used the elements to banish her there! We put a princess on the moon one thousand years ago as a prisoner. We used it as a cell, and we’ll never see it any other way!” She shouted.

“Here, though,” she quieted, “the humans see it as a place of wonder and excitement. A goal for everypony to reach for, just because it’s there.”

Twilight was a surprised by Rainbows words. “That was really inspirational, Rainbow,” she said with a soft smile,

Rainbow returned it. “It’s just so awesome, ya know? There are guys walking on another planet without magic. And they’re up there just because their president wanted them to. I think that is so amazing,” she trailed off.

“I think Dashie’s got the hots for humanity!” Pinkie chimed in a sing song tone.

“S-shut up! I don’t! I just think their cool is all.”

“Aw, I didn’t think you were into inter-species relations Rainbow,” Twilight chuckled.

“Geez you guys are annoying!” Rainbow shouted, wings spring open before launching herself out the nearby window.

Finding a nearby cloud, she huffed down on it. She layed there for a while before rolling over onto her back, to find Twilight floating above her, suspended by a magical field.

“I’m sorry Rainbow. We were just joking. Personally, I think it would be cute if you found a nice human male,” she said sheepishly.

Rainbow groaned. “No Twi it’s not that!” She called up.

Sensing Rainbow had something else on her mind, she quickly cast a cloud walking spell on herself and dropped down beside her pegasus friend.

“So what is it then?”

Rainbow, paused for a moment, before turning to Twilight with a determined expression.

“I wanna go to the moon.”

Twilight was taken aback. “What? Why would you wanna go there? It nearly drove princess Luna insane,”

Rainbow groaned again. “I thought you were listening, Twi! Everypony sees the moon as a bad place. I wanna change that. I wanna go there and show them that if we put our minds to it, we can be just as good as the humans!”

“Oh so thats what this is about,” Twilight smirked. “You’re jealous!”

“What!? No I’m not!”

“Oh ho ho this is too good! The mighty Rainbow Dash is jealous of some hairless apes!”

Rainbow did a double take. “That was a bit harsh, Twi.”

Twilight stopped laughing as the words registered. “Oh my gosh it was! I-I don’t-”

“Save it Twilight, you grew up around Shining Armour, we all know he's a racist,” Rainbow cut her off, with some truth to her words. It was no secret her brother did not favour the bipeds.

“So Dash,” Twilight spoke up. “You want to be the first pony in space. Without magic?” She asked.

“Yeah,” Rainbow said with a smile, looking skyward.

“What about the Wonderbolts?”

“I dunno. I’ve always wanted to be one of those, but an astronaut? Sign me up.”

“Okay so... Why? Why become the first pegasus on the moon?” Twilight enquired.

Rainbow searched her soul for an answer, finding a single sentence she had said earlier.

“Because it’s there.”

Author's Note:

due to popular demand i've added another chapter. Hope you enjoy!

Also this was written from an actual transcript so thats why it might be a bit hard to follow.

Also also- Astronauts say Okay alot. Seriously go through and read how many times they say it!

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 58 )

....I never thought I'd say this, but damn you Shining Armor. This makes you less awesome.

Shining Armor doesn't like us? What the hell did we do to him? Oh well, I love this story, and xenophobic Shining Armor will not rain on my parade. :pinkiehappy:

I really liked this new chapter, but there are some things you may want to edit. For example:

Weather they be at home, on the street looking into a store, or in a bar watching with a drink in hand.

That should be "Whether" instead of "Weather".

Twilight was a surprised by Rainbows words. “That was really inspirational, Rainbow,” she said with a soft smile,

That should be "Rainbow's" instead of "Rainbows", and this sentence should be ended with a period instead of a comma.

Oh so thats what this is about,” Twilight smirked. “You’re jealous!”

I'm pretty sure that this line should be,

“Oh, so that's what this is about,” Twilight smirked. “You’re jealous!”

I really loved this story, and I hope this helps in some way.

And don't forget Twilight too. She made the comment as well.

I just love that last line. :pinkiehappy:

Nice ending, dude. Very nice indeed.

~Skeeter The Lurker

This was awesome. And screw Armor he couldn't even tell that his fiancée was a bug... friggin xenophobe.

3150235 brother? Hehe I'm also 16 and i've always had a passion for the final frontier. The 120 dollar lego space shuttle and about 6 models of a saturn V i have testify to that.

But thank you for the comment, i've been told im really good at poking people in the feels but I don't quite believe it myself.

What i'm happiest about though is that space travel is not dying like we thought it was. NASA may be down for the count, but we've now got SpaceX and MarsOne to look forward too!

(Sister, actually; I'm a girl.)
I wanted those Lego models SO BADLY...

And you are very welcome.

So True! Let's hope we land someone on Mars soon...

3158274 You and me both, the best I ever got were the crappy Megablocks, or some other cheap rip-off.

Roger, Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You got a lot of guys turning blue here, we're breathing again, thanks a lot.

Good on you for this story.

FWIW, an annotated NASA Transcript is available at: http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/a11.landing.html Enjoy.

[< softly sings, "And there was One Small Step, and a Fire in the Sky!" as he hits the Add Comment button]

“Buzz, this is Houston. two- one-one hundred sixty th second for shadow
photography on the sequence camera.”

Th? I don't think that is a mistake because "the" wouldn't make sense either. Now I REALLY want to know what th stands for if it isn't.

Welcome to Humanity Rainbow Dash! You feel that burning desire in your chest and hear a little voice telling you to push forward? Both telling you to jump off a cliff into the abyss just because it's there? Enjoy it, it is never going to leave and even in death it will say "push forward into the greatest of unknowns".

I liked this, not as powerful maybe as the first chapter but the feels are there. Plan to do more? You just set up a great universe and story arc and with some planning, you could get it done. I made a comment on the last chapter a week or 2 ago saying I was unsure if you should continue this as having it short with just the feels and a open ending was acceptable. Opinion still stands. (Please excuse mistakes and grammar due to posting this with a tablet)

'Beacuse it's there.' Three of the most powerful words in any language. Good on you, Dash. And you too, Twilight. But Shining... ooh, bad vibes, there! :facehoof::rainbowdetermined2:

"Because it's there." The only reason anyone realy needs.
Keep up the good work. Deus tecum.


3316903 thank you for that valuable input. I'll be sure to take it into consideration.

Seriously though...


3317705anyway when I was reading.. I read the parts were the astronauts talked in there best voice.

Yay Parks station gets mentioned :pinkiehappy:

3377438 well of course, I am an aussie after all

3377447DUDE!!!!!! PLEASEEEEE maake this a longer storyyyyy my dog is asleep on my foot till u will

You killed me with all the feels.....:pinkiesad2:

This is a truly awesome and awe-inspiring fic.

Okay. you’ll have to pay out all the LEC.

Capitalize or change the period to a comma.

I just think their cool is all.

Think you meant 'they're'.

But in all honesty I loved this fic. It was inspiring and I was left in awe. I kept the song you mentioned in the author notes of last chapter on constant repeat as I read this one. This fic has been on my read later list for a long time, and I'm sorry to have just now gotten to it. It really is great, and captures those moments and feelings that the space race had ignited in us so long ago. Simply thank you for this story, and the inspiration.

3174856 Well I think it's a shame no-one answered you since you sounded pretty desperate to know. I myself am only guessing here, but I think it's a pretty good guess that "sixty th" should be "sixtieth". I don't know exactly what "two one one hundred sixtieth" translates to in terms of fraction, but 21/160th seems more plausible to me than 211/160th for a camera's shutter speed which appears to be what they are talking about.

And then came Apollo 13. :twilightsmile:

No offence, but Rainbow looks like she came in the story pic.

GREAT STORY!! MOAR! (maybe about the Mars Rover, or something like that)
Also, no offence, but Rainbow looks like she came.


Im not gonna lie, this made me cry a little. I just felt this huge swell of pride, for the greatness we're capable of. And only one other fic made me cry, A LIKE AND A FAV!!!

For the love of god, do a sequel. PLEASE DO A SEQUEL! If you don't I will, and it will be shit compared to this!

Make this happen!


i am in fact making a sequel, but i still would be interested to see yours! Also, that was the exact picture i was going to use for the cover art.:facehoof:


Damn... Great minds think alike, huh? Only, i'm not so great sooo.

4535667 thanks for the comment i do appreciate it, however im going to embarrass you now.

never forget this day 16/7/69

Its July :rainbowkiss:

Does USA and its citizens have to turn everything into a media propaganda directed against someone?
No need to underestimate the accomplishments of USSR and lose your head in the whole "race" thing. As much as I love space and consider it to be the only logical way of development for humanity, I hate that majority of people consider Soviets/Russians to be "bad guys" who can't do anything and totally sucked in the space "race" against the almighty USA.

I mean, come on... I will list a few accomplishments of Soviets in space exploration (mostly before Americans went to the Moon) and you can read about what came after it (such as their own version of Space Shuttle, the first Space Station, the first spacecraft to land on Mars, etc.) by yourself:
- First intercontinental ballistic missile
- First animal in orbit (+ safely returned)
- First ignition in orbit and first man-made object to leave Earth's orbit (it even maintained communication with Earth)
- First man-made object to get near the Moon (and later first probe into Moon orbit) and take a Heliocentric orbit
- First probe to impact the Moon, first images of Moon's dark side
- First probe to Venus, Mars and first probe to land on another planet (Venus, Mars) + later orbiting and soft landing on Venus and data transition back to Earth
- First MAN + first WOMAN in orbit and Space (first black and hispanic as well)
- First person to stay in space for extended amounts of time
- First dual-manned + multi-person spacecraft
- First OPEN SPACE WALK (EVA) / first man + later woman in open space (spacesuit)
- First probe to make a soft landing on Moon (with further data transit)
- First unmanned crafts
- First RENDEZVOUS AND DOCKING (both manned and unmanned)
- First living beings to reach the Moon and return back
- First SOIL SAMPLES returned from another celestial body (Moon)
- First SPACE ROVER on the Moon
- First SPACE STATION, first permanent space station
- First crew to visit two separate space stations
- First pictures from Venus atmosphere and from a comet fly-by
- First crew to spend over a year in space

I'm tired of listing these, so if you want more just go and read it yourself. Notice the underlined ones, do you really think that by sending a single craft to the Moon (with lots of debates if it even happened or not, though in my opinion it is quite silly) you won against the USSR?
Personally I don't think so. Their achievements back then were much greater than what USA had at the time. USSR did almost all you can think of first, and yet USA managed to get people on Moon before soviets, and somehow declared that as a victory.

If you want to continue reciting what mass-media and government propaganda states, go on... Or we could think logically past the veil of the cold war that is still going on and agree that there was no winner at all. There was no actual race to the Moon too. There was just SPACE COMPETITION. You cannot win competitions like these by doing only one specific thing and claiming that you won. If it was the case, soviets could just say "Oh look, first satellite\man in space\space station\rover\probe\whatever, we won!".
Both countries had valuable achievements that are hard to compare, both countries were successful, both had brilliant minds (that also helped soviets to successfully pioneer cybernetics and many other fields of research before USA took over close to and after the collapse). No need to underestimate any of the two. Get over your "national pride" and think clearly for once.

If someone is interested, I suggest reading about the Soviet space program to get a better understanding: Wikipedia.



Look mate. First of all, im not american.

I'm not trying to talk up America as some great and all powerful entity. Secondly, im not trying to undermine the achievements the soviets had made. I mean take Vostok for example. It was such a reliable and powerful launch vessel they are still using practically the same design today in Soyuz.

The Russians are not the enemy in this fic. They are the competition. There is a difference. Further more, this fic is set in the 1960's, in america. If i want my fic to be believable then im going to have to write it with that kind of time frame in mind. Which means, sadly, hating on the Russians.

Similarly, if I were to write a story about the mistreatment of African Americans I wouldn't be able to go the whole stories without racist comments? Why? Because its authentic, and it provides a better view of the situation at hand. Similarly as it does here.

If i had written this fic from the view of Rainbow Dash in the soviet union then the same 'competition' prejudice would have been used against the Americans.

Point is, I'm not trying to diminish the soviets achievements. But this story is about Apollo 11. An American mission on an american rocket. I had no need to write about the soviets.

I was writing this mainly as a reply to some of the comments to this story and not the story\author itself. I just didn't want to put references to said comments in there, so I left it as a simple 'wall of text'.
Some people could use this piece of information and a little incentive seeing as some folks don't even know the basic stuff I wrought here.
Furthermore, I assume that most of the readers on this site are USA citizens (for various reasons), so it seemed to be an appropriate place to ramble a bit and challenge some of their (possible) illusions =P
Sorry if I somehow offended you, it was not my intention.
P.S. I'm not even Russian. I just don't like that in the modern age A LOT of people don't even bother to learn how things were from more than 1 perspective =(

Wow...I read the first part a while back when it was first published, and thought it was amazing, but I honestly had no idea there was a second chapter until today. Just...this is honstly one of my favorite perceptions of humanity I have seen on this site, and it is an amzing reflection on human persistance, and aspiration. I thank you for writing this.


I don't know what you mean by boosters, unless you're talking SRB's which is not what i was refrencing, i was just using booster as another term for engine.

Secondly, i know ignition started earlier, but i made it later simply for the sake of the story. It read better to me.

Use this one then. (was gonna post it here anyway, seems to fit the mood of the ending too)
Space Dash by GordonFreeguy

This hit me in the feels. Both of these chapters did.
I thought of this picture.

6685660 jesus man what?

Did you even read the story to begin with?'
Do so before commenting. You might actually see what points comments are making, if you do.

Actually, screw that. I`m just gonna show this.

Equestria had first made contact with humanity years ago in the early fifties, and while that was a momentous occasion for both parties, the ponies' stories of sending one of their own to their moon had inspired the residents of Earth. Now, almost three decades later, after countless failures and sadly, sacrifices of life as well as the competition from the Russians. It was Earth’s turn.

This is an exerpt from the first chapter. Note how Equestria made contact with HUMANITY and with "residents of Earth" and "inspired" them. Note the next sentence, where residents of Earth make countless failures, sacrifices... and compete with Russians.

Nowhere in this paragraph we see words USA or even West. Author just puts down Earth and Humanity as a whole. And very casually excludes Russians from humanity. Somehow, Russians are not part of humanity, but rather, the competition. So what are we in the eyes of author? Aliens? Eldritch abominations? I have no idea.

6809232 As i've said before in response to the exact same comment. This fic is written from the frame of mind of a late 60's american spectator of the launch of apollo 11. At that time, yes russians were aliens to americans and americans were aliens to the russians. If i had written this fic about the launch of any vostok or soyutz then the roles would be reversed.

Also, for the record, im not american. Don't lump me in with such.

You didn`t even READ what I said, did you?
It`s straight to "you don`t know me, don`t judge me" with you.

Once again, for those who pride themselves on not thinking much. You did NOT say americans or USA. If you did, it would be understandable. But no, you said humanity and Earth.
THIS is specifically what gets to me. I wouldn`t think much about a "ponies make first contact in USA and are die-hard yankees since then". That much can be plausibly sold, especially during the Cold War times. But you didn`t go that route, no. Ponies made contact with humanity on Earth. And then you glibly imply that somehow russians and USSR just aren`t included in aforementioned humanity and Earth.

Frankly, I just don`t know if I should shake you and ask what is wrong with you or just be glad I`m not included in THAT kind of obliviotic "humanity".

6810851 i thought it was obvious to see that if ponies had made contact in the years following world war two when the cold war was starting, tensions were already escalating between america and russia. Neither country would let people immigrate freely to the other thats evident by the us goverment detaining people on suspision that they were russian spys. So, if ponies had first made contact within an american allied country (like england/australia/mexico/canada ect ect) then they would have been adopted into American culture and told that the russians were bad and to never go there.

conversly had the ponies landed in a russian allied country (ukraine/poland/china ect ect) then they would have been told that the americans are bad and never go there.

This fic isn't about american vs russia anyway. I put that line in because it was in line with the feeling of the public at the time. And in this fic, ponies (or at least the mane 6) are basically honourary americans with american beliefs.

Thems the brakes.

You know, there is a less painful way of doing this.
Namely, admitting you did screw up in that paragraph. It would let you keep much more dignity and integrity then trying to "justify" what was essentially a context mistake.

6812457 i dont feel like i have to admit to anything. I wrote it, its in there, its staying there. Like it or not

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!