Apollo 11 at 50
The Apollo program and 1969 moon landing inspired many of the entrepreneurs working to send people and robotic vehicles back to the moon or to pave the way for further space exploration and commerce.
NASA’s renewed effort to return humans to the moon draws inescapable parallels to Apollo a half-century ago.
As in Apollo, that public support may not be critical to winning sustained funding for Artemis, although the political and geopolitical conditions today are very different from those in the 1960s.
To help commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, SpaceNews asked readers to weigh in on the must-see realistic space movies for anyone serious about space. Grab the popcorn and let the countdown begin.
The chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA said July 24 he’s not yet convinced of the need to accelerate a human return to the moon, citing the cost of doing so.
India successfully launched its Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and lunar surface spacecraft Monday, a week after the first launch attempt was scrubbed due to an issue with the launch vehicle.
As NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first crewed landing on the moon, the agency released new details about how it will procure landers to enable humans to return to the moon in the 2020s.
NASA and the White House used the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing to mark the latest achievement in the development of the Orion spacecraft and reaffirm plans to use it to return humans to the moon by 2024.
Indeed, we were witnessing “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Nevertheless, my maternal grandmother who lived with us and was born in Eastern Europe in 1890, exclaimed, “I don’t believe it and will never believe it.”
Fifty years after Apollo 11, we are in a far better position, and so much closer, to return to the moon and send humans to Mars than we ever have been in the past. There are still many technical challenges to overcome, but the biggest challenge remains the political will to do so.
During the decades since the cancellation of the Apollo program, some have used the Chinese treasure fleets of the early 1400s as a cautionary tale.
The story of the Apollo program, the many heroes in the headlines and those behind-the-scenes, the unprecedented crisis and tragedies that were overcome to fulfill a martyred President’s bold promise, is a story as compelling as any great novel or Greek myth.
History is now repeating itself. President Trump has declared he wants to send astronauts to the moon by 2024 and then Mars by 2033. But, in other words, NASA is saying to Trump the same thing it said to Bush: “You can’t do your program until you do my program.”
Just as we have built on the foundation provided by the Apollo astronauts, the next generation will build on our achievements, and future generations on theirs.