Fiftieth Anniversary of Apollo 11

Apollo 11 lifted off on July 14th, 1969 so in three weeks we’ll be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of that historic mission.  I was thirteen years old in July 1969 and several years into a deep childhood fascination with the space program.  Not surprisingly I was glued to the television and newspapers for every aspect of the Apollo 11 mission and still remember how I felt watching and following along.

I’m looking forward to repeating that experience this July and am delighted to have the Internet to help me out.  For my own part I’ve taken a timeline of mission events from NASA, wrapped it in a bit of JavaScript, and created a simple web page that will help me keep track of the flow of the mission in real time (though fifty years after the fact).

I don’t have a rich collection of mission photos, videos, and artifacts, or the time to find and weave any into my mission timeline, something I knew other folks would be better positioned to accomplish.  Ben Feist and team have done precisely that in creating Apollo 11 in Real Time so I’ll also have that open continuously between liftoff on July 14 and splashdown on July 24.

Last night I watched Todd Douglas Miller’s “Apollo 11” documentary on CNN (which released it) and it brought back vivid memories of July fifty years ago.  I expect I’ll watch it several more times over the course of the next three weeks — highly recommended.

Happily both July 14th, liftoff day, and July 20th, landing/EVA day, fall on weekends so I expect I’ll set aside time both those days to reconnect with the event that was such a powerful and formative part of my youth. Might also be a good time to build a few space-themed model kits I’ve squirreled away, attend a Splashdown 50 event on the nearby USS Hornet (which recovered the Apollo 11 capsule and crew) or just listen to the official mission mixtape.