Space Center Houston’s Apollo 11 exhibit. Photo: Will van Overbeek

Space Center Houston will celebrate the anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission this July with events to give visitors a taste of the thrill Americans experienced 50 years ago when Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon.

From July 16 to July 24—the dates of Apollo’s take-off and splashdown in 1969—the official visitor center of the Johnson Space Center will offer a galaxy of stellar events and activities inspired by NASA’s triumph. The center also displays its permanent collection of top Apollo artifacts, including lunar rocks from the six different Apollo Missions and the podium used by John F. Kennedy for one of his space-race speeches.

“The moon landing has intrigued people from all countries, nationalities, and backgrounds for years,” says William T. Harris, Space Center Houston’s president and CEO.“The resilience, creativity, and emotion of the Apollo 11 mission anniversary will be felt around the world.”

Special events will include a lunch with Apollo-era flight controllers; a 1960s-themed Splashdown Party; and a dinner and panel discussion with the children of Apollo-era astronauts and flight controllers.

During the nine-day celebration, NASA Tram Tours willoffer daily shuttles to the historic Apollo Mission Control Center. It was here that fifty years ago, capsule communicator (CAPCOM) Charlie Duke responded to Armstrong’s “Eagle has landed” message by saying, “Roger, Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You’ve got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.”

The Space Center will also host a Pop Up Science Lab for children focusing on Apollo-related technologies.

On July 20, the date that Apollo 11 touched down, an outdoor festival features speakers, tram tours to Rocket Park, an evening concert, a countdown to Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon at 9:56 p.m. Synchronized lighted wristbands for attendees will go off simultaneously at the unforgettable moment—50 years later—when the U.S. took one giant step for mankind.

The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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