The Saturn V Moon Rocket and Space Shuttle displays at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center
The Saturn V Moon Rocket and Space Shuttle displays at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center

On July 16, 1969 at 9:32 a.m. at NASA’s Launch Pad 39A, Apollo 11’s five F1 engines on Nasa’s Saturn-V AS-506 rocket ignited to slowly lift three Americans and humankind’s dreams aboard the historic mission to the Moon.  On the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, Huntsville will be dancing in the streets, toasting Apollo workers and moonwalkers, and leading a rocket launch of thousands around the world as part of its Celebration.

Today, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Dr. Deborah Barnhart, the Mayor’s appointed Chair of the 2019 Rocket City’s 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Celebration joined to commemorate the 49th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, and to pay tribute to the Apollo era workforce and families who answered the nation’s call:  to land on the moon and return safely to Earth, and to announce an honorary Chair and early plans for 50th anniversary activities in 2019.  The historic and significant role of the U. S. Army, Wernher von Braun, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and the Huntsville workforce were essential to the success of Apollo 11.  The family of Dr. Wernher von Braun has agreed to serve as Honorary Chair of the community’s Apollo 11 Celebration.  The Mayor’s Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Planning Committee is already working on proposed projects and events to commemorate the collective effort of some 400,000 people who worked on the Apollo Program – an 11-year series of 33 spaceflights including six that reached the lunar surface

"NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville played a leading role in building the Saturn V rocket that ultimately carried man to the moon," Mayor Tommy Battle said. "There is no better City to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that remarkable feat than Huntsville in 2019. Today, our community remains fondly known around the globe as the "Rocket City" - both because of our past achievements and the momentum of our continued excellence in aerospace.  We encourage our neighbors, both near and far, to visit Huntsville and experience the many planned activities and events as we celebrate one of America's greatest achievements."

Throughout 2019, plans to commemorate the Apollo 11 anniversary events and Alabama’s Bicentennial are underway, highlighted by Panoply 2019’s Alabama Bicentennial and Lunar Landing themes, a Guinness World record attempt at the most simultaneous rocket launches, an Apollo Homecoming Dinner at the U. S. Space & Rocket Center and dancing in the streets on Courthouse Square.  The Apollo 11 mission anniversary week in July 2019 also includes a Celebration Car Show, and a concert on July 20th, moon landing day.

In naming the von Braun family as Chair of the Anniversary Celebration, Dr. Deborah Barnhart said, “This community embraced the challenge of space exploration for our nation.  This community embraced Dr. von Braun’s vision and leadership for our journey to the moon and the stars.  The rocket team assembled here in Huntsville joined with thousands to fulfill the dream of humankind.  The von Braun family, the NASA/Contractor family and all of the Rocket City will celebrate When we were Apollo.”

Dr. Barnhart also said, “The Committee would like to engage the public as it continues its work to coordinate 50th Anniversary activities with community organizations, government, the arts and entertainment organizations, industry, education, and our visitors.  I encourage all of our citizens of our 2019 celebration and be a part of our journey back to the moon and on to Mars.”

A city-wide master calendar of events, activities, conferences and other events related to the Apollo 11 50 Anniversary Celebration will be consolidated at the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau website (


50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Celebration Highlights to-date

Rockets on Parade

Throughout 2019, 256 Magazine, the Valley's CW and the USSRC will also look to the future and the upcoming launch of the Space Launch System.  A Parade of Rockets will be help us remember the Apollo era and the future SLS era utilizing a 5-foot-tall model of NASA's SLS rocket.  The rockets will be available throughout all the Tennessee Valley for exhibit at local businesses and organizations.  The SLS models can accept traditional launch day markings or custom decorations to make a colorful Rockets on Parade throughout the valley.

Moon Landing Reenactments

Throughout 2019, the USSRC will produce a reenactment of the moon landings of the Apollo era.  We are working through production logistics of this event to include an outdoor reenactment at the USSRC's lunar crater surface and an indoor production for our visitors.

Saturn 5 Tower Projection Mapping

In coordination with UAH, digital projection mapping on the Saturn 5 Tower at the USSRC will come alive!

NASA/Contractor Apollo Legacy Panels Discussions

Listen, learn, and understand that reaching for the stars is challenging.  Hear the discussion of the issues, the magic and the teamwork that powered the Apollo workforce on its mission to the moon.

Special Amateur Radio Event & stations at S&RC for July 20-21, 2019

Amateur Radio operators participate with other "Ham" operators around the world publicizing this important event. It benefits the City and the S&RC to have all this interested generated and getting one of our "Special Event, W4A,” QSL cards. They are created just for this special event.  Special permits by The HARC (Huntsville Amateur Radio Club) and club station K4BFT.


Working Schedule for Apollo 11 50th Anniversary at the USSRC – Week of July 13th – July 20th

July 13, 2019 - Celebration Car Show

Kick-off the week of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission with our Celebration Car Show!  Cars of the Apollo era and other classics will land at the USSRC on July 13, 1969


July 16, 2019 - Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Launch Day

July 16, 1969 - 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Launch.  National Media to be invited to USSRC to commemorate efforts of NASA, Contractors, and specifically Marshall Space Flight Center workforce dedicated to Mission success.


July 16, 2019 - Guinness Book of World Record Attempts

USSRC attempts to break Guinness World Record.  We intend to launch 5000 model rockets simultaneously at 8:32 am, the exact time of the launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969.   Additionally, a new world record will be attempted as we launch model rockets around the world at 8:32 in each time zone during a single 24-hour period.

Gates open at 7 am with limited seating.


July 16, 2019 - Apollo 11 Homecoming Celebration Dinner & Program at the USSRC

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and the era of “When We Went to the Moon” with an all hands summer dinner and program at the USSRC!  The entire community joins with invited VIP guests, including moonwalker Harrison Schmitt and Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot Al Worden for the celebration.  A casual Apollo Homecoming celebrating decades of the nation’s historic space accomplishments and looking forward beyond today, when we return to the Moon and Mars.



July 19, 2019 - Dancing in the Streets

Join us in downtown Huntsville to remember the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary.  We'll have a parade to Courthouse Square featuring Marshall Space Flight Center's Lunar Roving Vehicle replicated by today's workforce at Huntsville's Polaris ATV facility.  And we will, as we did 50 years ago, dance in the streets on Courthouse Square to celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing.


July 20, 2019 – Rocketfest Moon Landing Concert at the USSRC

Celebrate the actual moon landing day celebration with the Rocketfest/Summerfest Concert at the USSRC.   We will join with celebrations around the world to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission.