The APOLLO program had been underway since July 1960, when NASA announced a follow-on to MERCURY that would fly astronauts around the Moon. But with President John F. Kennedy's speech of May 25, 1961, declaring the goal of landing an astronaut on the surface of the Moon and returning to Earth by decade's end, APOLLO shifted its focus. That goal was achieved with five months to spare, when, on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin touched down in the Sea of Tranquility.
APOLLO was one of the great triumphs of modern technology. Six expeditions landed on the Moon, and one - Apollo 13 - was forced to return without landing. Before that, there had been two manned checkouts of APOLLO hardware in Earth orbit and two lunar orbit missions.
Boosting the APOLLO vehicles to the Moon was the job of the giant SATURN V - the first launch vehicle large enough that it had to be assembled away from the launch pad and transported there. A fueled SATURN V weighed more than six million pounds at liftoff and stood 110.64 meters high with the APOLLO vehicles on top. The vehicle had three stages: the S-IC, S-II, and S-IVB, the last of which burned to send APOLLO out of Earth orbit and on its way to the Moon.
(The above narrative is from SPACE FLIGHT THE FIRST 30 YEARS, NASA publication NP-150, December 1991, p. 12.)