Moon landing turns 50
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 7/19/19, 12:43 pm
On July 20, 1969, U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to set foot on the moon, and celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission culminate Saturday. The cable and internet channel NASA TV will air the original videos from 1969 of the landing of the lunar module Eagle and Armstrong’s and Aldrin’s first steps on the lunar surface at 4:02 p.m. and 10:38 p.m., respectively, coinciding with the times each took place 50 years ago. NASA and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum joined forces to throw a three-day festival this week on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., with other events planned at museums and cities across the country.
“Exactly 50 years ago today, we were on our way to the Moon!” Aldrin tweeted on Thursday. “It was an honor to work with this crew and a privilege to complete the mission of a lifetime.”
Festivities began earlier this week with the anniversary of the Saturn V rocket launch on Tuesday. Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, 88, returned to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida where the launch took place to mark the beginning of the crew’s eight-day mission. The same day, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center launched thousands of model rockets in Huntsville, Ala., where the Saturn V rocket was developed. The Air and Space Museum in Washington put Armstrong’s 76-pound spacesuit on display, with Vice President Mike Pence, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine, and Armstrong’s son, Rick, in attendance. Armstrong died in 2012. “The debt this nation owes to our Apollo astronauts, including the man who wore the suit that we unveil today, we can never fully repay,” Pence said at the ceremony.
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