Apollo 11 astronauts return to launch pad 50 years later


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (CNN/AP) – This week we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s historic mission to the moon.

50 years ago today, the Saturn V rocket launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida and sent Apollo 11 into orbit.

Four days later, humans landed on the moon for the first time ever.

It was Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin – in the lunar module eagle – who landed on the moon’s surface at the Sea of Tranquility.

Armstrong’s famous words were also uttered: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is hosting a special presentation of “Apollo 50: Go For The Moon” this week.

Tuesday through Thursday, there will be a full-sized projection of the Saturn 5 rocket on the Washington Monument.

Apollo 11’s astronauts will also return to the exact spot from where they flew to the moon 50 years ago.

NASA has invited Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Tuesday.

They will mark the precise moment — 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969 — that their Saturn V rocket departed on humanity’s first moon landing.

Mission commander Neil Armstrong — who took the first lunar footsteps — died in 2012.

It kicks off eight days of golden anniversary celebrations for each day of Apollo 11’s voyage.

Also Tuesday morning, 5,000 model rockets are set to launch simultaneously at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. At the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, Armstrong’s newly restored spacesuit goes on display.

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