Countdowns, ceremonies and MoonPies: How the U.S. is marking 50 years since the lunar landing – National

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.  — A moonstruck nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of humanity’s first footsteps on one other world Saturday, gathering in report warmth at races and different festivities to commemorate Apollo 11‘s “big leap” by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.


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At NASA’s Kennedy Area Heart, Aldrin confirmed Vice President Mike Pence the launch pad the place he flew to the moon in 1969. On the identical time midway around the globe, an American and two different astronauts blasted into house from Kazakhstan on a Russian rocket. And in Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, practically 2,00Zero runners competed in “Run to the Moon” races.

“We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of maybe essentially the most historic occasion in my lifetime, possibly in anyone’s lifetime, the touchdown on the moon,” stated 10Ok runner Robert Rocco, 54, of Centerville, Ohio. “The ’60s have been very turbulent. However that one vibrant fantastic second was the house program.”


The Eagle lunar lander, carrying Armstrong and Aldrin, landed on the Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969. Armstrong was the primary one out, proclaiming for the ages: “That’s one small step for man, one big leap for mankind.”

“Few moments in our American story spark extra delight than the Apollo 11 mission,” President Donald Trump stated in a Area Exploration Day message. His assertion reiterated the objective of sending astronauts again to the moon inside 5 years and taking “the following big leap — sending People to Mars.”


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Armstrong died in 2012, leaving Aldrin, 89, and command module pilot Michael Collins, 88, to mark the golden anniversary. Each astronauts and the Armstrong household met with Trump within the Oval Workplace on Friday, with Collins pushing for a direct mission to Mars and skipping the moon, and Aldrin expressing dismay on the previous few many years of human house exploration.

On Saturday, Pence, Aldrin and Armstrong’s older son, Rick, visited the Apollo 11 launch pad, now leased by SpaceX, and the constructing now named for Armstrong the place the astronauts suited up for liftoff on July 16, 1969.

In New York Metropolis, organizers moved a moon-landing occasion from Occasions Sq. right into a resort due to the warmth wave. Kids joined former house shuttle astronaut Winston Scott there, as an enormous display screen confirmed the Saturn V rocket lifting off with the Apollo 11 crew in 1969.

Throughout the nation in Seattle, Tim Turner was first in line on the Museum of Flight to see the Apollo 11 command module, Columbia, on show there. Collins orbited the moon alone in Columbia, as Armstrong and Aldrin descended to the gray, desolate floor.

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Turner, who drove 75 miles from his dwelling in Poulsbo, Washington, recalled watching the lunar touchdown on his household’s black-and-white TV in Tennessee, then going outdoors to gaze on the moon.

“There was simply pleasure,” Turner stated. “It was simply the novelty of all of it. Good grief! It’s nonetheless superb, the No. 1 feat of the 20th century, if not all of recent historical past, that first time there.”

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Countdowns have been deliberate throughout the nation later within the day on the precise second of the Eagle’s touchdown on the moon — four:17 p.m. EDT — and Armstrong’s momentous step onto the lunar floor at 10:56 p.m. EDT. The powdered orange drink Tang was again in vogue for the toasts, together with MoonPies, together with a 55-pound (25-kilogram), 45,00Zero-calorie MoonPie at Kennedy’s One Large Leap bash.

Within the 100-degree warmth (38 levels Celsius) of Kazakhstan, an American, Italian and Russian, rocketed into the evening to the Worldwide Area Station. Solely one of many three — cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov — was alive on the time of Apollo 11.

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The three already residing on the house station additionally have been born lengthy after the moon landings.

The crew intentionally modelled its mission patch after Apollo 11′s: no astronaut names included to indicate the common nature of house flight. Morgan defined in a NASA interview that Apollo 11, and now his flight, represents “an accomplishment of the world and never one single nation.”

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