The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

40 Years Since Apollo 11

40 years ago on July 16th, 1968 three astronauts sat on top of a Saturn V rocket and headed toward the Moon.  It was the culmination of a challenge issued by Kennedy in 1961 and the final push in a race with the Soviet Union.  It wasn’t exactly shaping up to be a banner year for the U.S. at that point with political unrest and a controversial war raging in Vietnam.

But for the duration of Apollo 11 the U.S. finally had something that everyone could be proud of.    We all know how it ended, a rousing success.  They only spent a couple of hours on the surface (NASA wanted the least chance for things to go wrong…subsequent missions would be longer).

You can relive the mission 40 years after it happened at We Choose the Moon. Tomorrow you can watch the launch, followed by the landing and splashdown.  After the end, you can come back and watch them all at your own pace.

I remember in 1988 on the 20th anniversary when A&E aired the original David Brinkley coverage 20 years later.  Now 40 years later, I am watching it on the internet which says something about our progress since then as well.

I have been to both of the Spacefest events.  I have met many of the Apollo astronauts and had lunch with Buzz Aldrin this year.

The sad part is that we have not been back.

Well, 11 hours 56 minutes to liftoff and counting…that’s early for us Pacific time zone people!

July 16, 2009 - Posted by | NASA

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