On July 11, 1969 – only 5 days before Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin set out on their journey to the Moon – a relatively unknown British musician named David Bowie released a single titled Space Oddity.
When early astronauts traveled into space, and in this case, the Moon, lives depended on communications equipment that kept them in contact at all times with those stationed on Earth, like this "Snoopy Cap" communications carrier.
The NASA Art Program played an important role in representing the excitement and public interest in early spaceflight missions like Apollo 11. As we look back at key moments from the historic missions, we do so not only through photographs and oral histories, but through the eyes of artists as well.
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will present an once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 this July in partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior and 59 Productions. For three nights, July 16, 17 and 18—a full-sized, 363-foot Saturn V rocket will be projected onto the east face of the Washington Monument from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. On Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20, a special 17-minute show, “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon” will combine full-motion projection-mapping artwork on the monument and archival footage to recreate the launch of Apollo 11 and tell the story of the first moon landing.
As we approach the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first steps on the Moon, our ability to reflect on those events is thanks in part to how the moment was shared with people around the world. The Apollo 11 mission was not the first time television signals returned from the orbit of the Moon, but the landing in July 1969 was by far the most important to get just right.