Planetarium recalls importance of local connection in Apollo 11 landing

Armstrong on 20 July 1969 shows astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the Moon's Sea of Tranquility. Image AFP  NASA

Armstrong on 20 July 1969 shows astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the Moon's Sea of Tranquility. Image AFP NASA

"I want to turn and ask Neil a question and maybe tell Buzz Aldrin something, and of course, I'm here by myself". After receiving his appointment, he became a decorated fighter pilot during the Korean War.

Mission Control at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston housed the engineers and flight directors who worked tirelessly to ensure Apollo 11's mission was a success. Aldrin and fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong were the first.

In this July 16, 1969 photo made available by NASA, the 363-feet Saturn V rocket carrying the Apollo 11 crew, launches from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The pair spent over 21 hours on the Moon in an area named the Sea of Tranquility. If you ever wondered how the crew that became the first to make it to the moon learned they had been chosen, here is the back story.

Buzz Aldrin was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2008.

50 years later, the Apollo 11 moon landing remains one of NASA'S greatest accomplishments.

The recreation isn't the company's only Apollo 11 celebration.

When Armstrong stepped onto the moon and said, "This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", he had it right.

Summer camper Vincent Laba says he believes technology is only going to propel science to new heights, adding that in 50 years we could be moving at the speed of light.

Aldrin - the second man to walk on the moon after Neil Armstrong, who died in 2012 at age 82 - certainly stood out at the event, sporting a suit covered in rocket ships, a silver bowtie, pink button down and American flag socks.

Aldrin, 89, was to join Collins on the launch pad but canceled.

As Americans celebrate the moonshot anniversary for most of this week, with Saturday being the anniversary of the lunarlanding, NASA is aiming to revive its new lunar program dubbed Artemis, the Greek goddess and twin sister of Apollo.

Media at the time of the moon missions seized on the idea of Collins being the "loneliest" person in history as he flew around the moon by himself.

You can experience "Apollo 50: Go for the Moon" on July 19 and 20 from viewing areas on the National Mall in front of the Smithsonian Castle between ninth and 12th streets.

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