Apollo 11 Remembered, Part Two: Events Celebrating Apollo’s 50th Anniversary

This is the official crew portrait of the Apollo 11 astronauts. Pictured from left to right are Neil A. Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins, Module Pilot; Edwin E. Buzz Aldrin, Lunar Module Pilot.

Welcome to Part Two of this year’s series on NASA, focusing on the 50th Anniversary of man’s first lunar landing, the Apollo 11 mission, which lasted from July 16-24, 1969. The three-man crew consisted of these astronauts: Neil A. Armstrong, the mission commander; Michael Collins, the orbiter ‘Columbia’ module pilot; and Edwin E. ‘Buzz’ Aldrin, the lunar landing module ‘Eagle’ pilot. This week we will look at just a few of the thousands of public programs celebrating this magnificent achievement a half-century ago.

Our focus will be on those events you can easily participate in, either on NASA TV, or in person in Nashville TN, or in nearby Huntsville AL, and the 10-day celebration at the Ohio museum named for the first man to step onto the moon. For an extensive (but not all-inclusive) list of NASA-related and / or endorsed events worldwide, go to www.nasa.gov. There is literally no way to convey how many other networks and other programs are being held. Who knows, maybe you or your neighbor may host an event.

Nashville Space Day 2019 July 20
Here in Nashville, on the Anniversary date of the lunar landing, Saturday, July 20, Tennessee State Museum and Nashville Public Television will host “Space Day” at the Tennessee State Museum, 1000 Rosa L. Parks Blvd, Nashville, Tennessee 37208 from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm CDT because this July marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. To celebrate, there will be space-themed activities for families and special programming for all ages throughout the day.

Visitors are invited to view fragments from the Moon’s surface that were brought to Earth by the astronauts that took part in the first lunar landing, on display in the Museum’s Tennessee Transforms gallery. At 2 pm, visitors are invited to watch a segment of the Nashville Public Television documentary “Chasing the Moon” from the American Experience series.

NASA Television has Special Apollo 50th Programming all month
Among the highlights, Friday, July 19, 12 Noon CDT – NASA’s Giant Leaps: Past and Future – Celebrating Apollo 50th as we Go Forward to the Moon. On July 19, NASA will broadcast live from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the historic, newly-restored Apollo mission control room at Johnson Space Center in Houston and the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, as well as at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC with a special guest host. They will look in live on Neil Armstrong’s hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, home of the Armstrong Space Center (which is having dozens of events this month), view the Apollo 11 command module on display in Seattle, and see slices of Americana at other anniversary celebrations around the country. This will tell the story of how we got there, and how we’ll get there again, hearing directly from Apollo astronauts alongside current and future astronauts, scientists, engineers, and others sharing some untold stories, quirky facts, and personal reflections about journeying to the lunar surface. Watch it on the NASA Live page at www.nasa.gov free.

Saturday, July 20, 2 astronauts (NASA’s Drew Morgan and ESA’s Luca Parmitano) and 1 cosmonaut (Alexander Skvortsov) are scheduled to launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan onboard a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft as part of Expedition 60-61 to the International Space Station at 11:28 am, with live coverage will on NASA TV beginning at 10:30 am. At 3 pm, a replay of Apollo 11 Landing Coverage from 1969 is scheduled, followed at 5 pm by ISS Expedition 60-61 / Soyuz MS-13 docking, hatch opening (~ 7:50 pm) and welcoming ceremony coverage, followed at 9 pm by a replay of Apollo 11 Moonwalk coverage. NASA TV can be viewed on your phone, tablet or laptop, etc., free, at www.nasa.gov.

At the US Space and Rocket Center – One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, AL (Times CDT)

Ongoing through December 1, 2019:
Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Celebration Moon Landing, live reenactments will be held at 1 pm daily in the Davidson Center.
Apollo: When We Went to the Moon, 9 am – 5 pm daily. This world-premiere exhibition chronicles the timeline from the beginning of the Space Race – when the U.S. and Soviet Union competed over their accomplishments in space exploration – to the collaborative culture of the International Space Station program and beyond.

July 15 at 2 pm Apollo 15 Astronaut Al Worden community presentation, National Geographic Theater.

July 19, 6-10 pm. Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Dancing in the Streets, 100 Northside Square, Downtown Huntsville, with a parade to Courthouse Square featuring Marshall Space Flight Center’s Lunar Roving Vehicle replicated by today’s workforce at Huntsville’s Polaris ATV facility. And they will, as they did 50 years ago, dance in the streets on Courthouse Square to celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing.

July 20, 2019, Apollo 11 – America’s First Landing on the Moon, 2:30 pm.

July 20 at 5 pm. Rocket City Summer Fest Moon Landing Concert, Davidson Theater, will join with celebrations around the world to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission with a concert in the shadow of Huntsville’s iconic Saturn V replica.

At the Armstrong Air and Space Museum, Wapakoneta, OH, hometown of Neil Armstrong. (Times Eastern/EDT)
July 13 – July 16, 5 pm – 12 midnight. Escape the Moon, brought to you by Escape Wapak, a fully immersive Escape Adventure played throughout the Museum, transforming the AAS Museum into humanity’s first Lunar Station.

July 14, 11 am. Statue Unveiling and STEM Inspiration Center Ribbon Cutting. Witness the unveiling of TWO new statues of Neil Armstrong created by sculptor Chaz Fagan, followed by a ribbon cutting for the new Neil Armstrong STEM Inspiration Center created within the new expansion. Chaz Fagan, and Neil Armstrong’s son Mark and his wife Wendy, will be there. 50th Anniversary Parade follows at 3:00 pm, starting at the Fairgrounds and ending at Wapakoneta’s historic Downtown. Free.

July 14, 2019, 5 – 10 pm. Community Picnic & Sounds of Summer Beach Boys Tribute Band. Following the 3:00 pm 50th Anniversary Parade, come to the Museum to continue the party. Bring your beach balls, blankets, lawn chairs, and your own picnic food to enjoy a concert by a Beach Boys tribute band. (Rain location is the Wapakoneta High School Performing Arts Center. The call will be made at 3:00 pm).

July 16, 9:15 am– 5 pm. Launch Day! Mark the 50th anniversary of the Saturn V launch of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon at the Museum with a countdown to 9:32am, the actual time the Apollo 11 Saturn V launched. At this time they will launch multiple different types of rockets at the same time. Throughout the day there will be model rocket workshops, launches, and a variety of rocket activities inside and outside the museum—a big day of fun and learning.

July 19-21, 2019, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Summer Moon Festival. Neil Armstrong’s hometown will be celebrating with NASA, which will be there with exhibits, demonstrations and activities about historic and future lunar exploration. Neil Armstrong documentary premiere by producer Gareth Dodds (Contact: 765-494-4600) Free.

July 20, 6:30 – 11 am. Run to the Moon 1k & 5k and 1 Mile Fun Run. This race offers both a 5k and 10k race distance along with the 1 Mile distance. Runner Amenities include Free entry to the Museum. Runner and walkers in the 5K and 10K and 1 mile Bling Run and the Virtual Run will receive a custom designed race bib, a really cool participant shirt, and the 50th Anniversary Medal. Please register on-line before race day. Race Day registrants are NOT guaranteed a shirt.

July 20, 6 pm. Annual Astronaut Dinner Gala, banquet style dinner with astronauts in attendance inside the Museum throughout the galleries and event spaces.

July 21, 7 pm. Wink at the Moon Concert by Lima Area Concert Band brings the 10 days of celebration to a close with the community at the “Wink at the Moon” closing event beginning at 7:00 p.m. Enjoy the music of the Lima Area Concert Band, plus a few special 50th Anniversary surprises. When the concert ends, join us, as suggested by Mrs. Armstrong at her husband’s passing in 2012, in giving Mr. Armstrong a little wink at the moon.

Additional information: The Armstrong Air and Space Museum is a marvelous facility and the present author was there in August, 2012 and attended the community celebration of life program for Neil Alden Armstrong, held outdoors under a full moon shortly after his passing. It is about a 5 1/2 hour drive from Nashville on I-65 (to Louisville) and I-75 on through Cincinnati and Dayton; approx. 380 miles.