Apollo: 50th Anniversary

July 2019

Apollo 11: Fifty Years

By the summer of 1969, almost every element of the Apollo program had been tested and proven. The massive Saturn V rocket – the most powerful machine ever built and the first launch vehicle developed strictly for space applications – had shown it could reliably lift the Apollo modules and astronauts together beyond the Earth’s orbit. The command/service module (CSM) and lunar module (LM) could launch together, dock, and separate, and the LM could fly on its own. Russian and U.S. unmanned probes had performed soft landings on the moon, dispelling fears that spacecraft would simply sink into the powdery lunar surface.

The Apollo 11 Saturn V lifts off for the moon. NASA photo

The Apollo 11 Saturn V lifts off for the moon. NASA photo

There was, really, only one question left to answer, and it was embedded in Apollo 11’s pithy prime mission objective: “Perform a manned lunar landing and return.”

On the morning of July 16, as the Apollo 11 astronauts sat atop the 363-foot Saturn V at Kennedy Space Center’s (KSC) Launch Complex 39A, a million eyewitnesses packed themselves into the surrounding sandy flats and shorelines, waiting along with a worldwide television audience. Three and a half miles away, seated in grandstands, were half the members of Congress and more than 3,000 journalists from 56 different nations. At 9:32 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the rocket blasted the Apollo 11 crew into the sky.

It is now nearly a half a century since Apollo 11 blasted off from KSC. Project Apollo represented the peak of human technological achievement and daring. NASA, academia, and the aerospace community through their partnership were able to overcome incredible challenges.

Now the attention of the world has returned to space with ongoing efforts to explore both the Moon and Mars. Again, we see the importance of NASA’s partnerships in helping overcome today’s challenges to sending humans back to the Moon, and eventually Mars.

Publication

To celebrate the 50th-anniversary of humankind’s greatest adventure, Faircount will be releasing a special, high-quality, commemorative publication titled Apollo 11: 50 Years. The publication will see extensive distribution to personnel within NASA headquarters and its facilities across the country, other federal agencies involved in aerospace research and development, executives in the aerospace industry, and universities, colleges, and not-for-profit institutes collaborating with NASA on research.

Apollo50-multiplatform

Faircount is no stranger to publishing about NASA, having worked under several NASA Space Act Agreements to publish NASA: 50 Years of Discovery in 2008, NACA/NASA: Celebrating a Century of Innovation, Exploration, and Discovery in Flight and Space in 2014, and most recently, in 2017, a special edition dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the International Space Station’s First Elements launch. When Faircount works with federal agencies we sometimes publish under contract, other times independently. This 50th-anniversary edition is being published independently of NASA, but with its knowledge and awareness.

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