Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon's surface.The first man to fly in a spacecraft and orbit the Earth was Yuri Gagarin. He was a cosmonaut from the Soviet Union (the name of the former union of Russia and its neighbouring states). In 1961, US president John F. Kennedy announced that the United States would land a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s. The mission was carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). A new spacecraft specially designed for the mission, called Apollo, was built. After a series of test flights, Apollo 11 successfully landed two astronauts on the Moon in July 1969.