Apollo 11 50th Anniversary

50 years ago on a warm, mid-July night, nearly every man, woman and child in the United States sat glued to their televisions as astronauts Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin landed on the surface of the moon. History was made, the limits of human achievement tested and surpassed in a way that just days earlier had been considered impossible. While that part of the story may be familiar, some may not know that the rocket that launched those men to the moon (and into the history books), was built right here in Huntsville, Alabama. That's right - they don't call Huntsville the "Rocket City" for nothin'! We know a thing or two about getting to space. That's why in 2019, we're "partying like it's 1969" as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing - and we want you to join us!

1. Check out the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's Apollo: When We Went to the Moon exhibit

When We Went to the Moon exhibit

The world-premiere exhibition, ‘Apollo: When We Went to the Moon,’ chronicles the timeline from the beginning of the Space Race – a time when the U.S. and Soviet Union competed over their accomplishments in space exploration – to the collaborative culture of the International Space Station program and beyond.

Experience the best of technology and exploration through the eyes of the engineers and in the boots of the astronauts who took us to the moon 50 years ago. Enjoy an Apollo 11 launch experience and explore artifacts and media memorabilia highlighting the turbulent nature of this pivotal era in our history.

2. Launch your own rocket as part of the Global Rocket Launch

Global Rocket Launch

Calling all teachers, scout leaders, community leaders, families, friends, and rocket enthusiasts of all ages around the world! Wherever you are, we want you to join in the celebration with a rocket launch! The Global Launch is open to anyone who wants to participate, whether your group is large or small, or even a party of one. Any type of rocket is welcome, and no launch is too small! So whether you are launching a model rocket, one made from paper and a drinking straw or something in between, your launch counts towards the Global Launch. 

Any time on July 16, 2019 is a great time to launch! Click here to let us know that you plan on celebrating. On launch day, snap a picture or two to share with us and the whole world! Share public photos and video on Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. Be sure to include #GlobalRocketlaunch so we can add your launch to the global count. 

3. Dance in the streets, check out a car show and more

Downtown nightlife

"My friends, there was dancing here in the streets of Huntsville when our first satellite orbited the earth. and there was dancing again when the first Americans landed on the moon. I'd like to ask you don't hang up your dancing slippers."  Dr. Wernher Von Braun

On July 19, 1969, Huntsvillians gathered downtown to celebrate the Apollo 11 moon landing. Relive that glory day by joining space enthusiasts as they dance in the streets once again. Musical performances themed to the last five decades will take place on each side of the Historic Downtown Square. There will be a projection experience to end the evening and inspire the latest endeavor of space exploration.

Earlier that week, the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission begins with a Celebration Car Show with vehicles from the Apollo era on display. A full-scale, Polaris-powered Apollo Lunar Rover replica will also be featured at this event on the Rocket Center grounds July 13, 2019. 

4. Rocket City Summer Fest

U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Rocket City Summer Fest is an annual celebration at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center meant to bring together the community of Camp alumni and their families from all over the world. Start planning for the fun now, including Biergarten, the Space Camp Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, astronaut training missions, special astronaut guest, and the grand finale concert.

Make plans now to visit Huntsville in mid July and enjoy this very special event!

5. Stein and dine under the Saturn V

Biergarten

Visit the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Saturn V Hall in the Davidson Center for Space Exploration for the German Biergarten, featuring authentic German cuisine crafted by renowned chefs David Oreskovich and Jason Williams.

Enjoy the festive atmosphere with imported and domestic beers and delicious wines from the German region, as well as traditional German dance performances. It’s family friendly and leashed dogs are welcome on the Apollo Terrace and in Apollo Courtyard.

Admission is free to this rain or shine event, and food and beverages are available for purchase.

6. Immerse yourself in the galaxy at the new INTUITIVE® Planetarium

Planetarium

If you look out at the stars in the night sky, astronomers will point out, you’re looking at the past. Light from distant stars takes years to reach Earth, so we’re seeing them as they were all those years ago. If, however, you look at the stars at the INTUITIVE® Planetarium at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, you’re looking at the future. The newly opened INTUITIVE® Planetarium is a first-of-its-kind facility, utilizing the latest technology to create an unmatched experience. The 8K projection system uses the first-ever Evans & Sutherland ESX cinema system installed anywhere in the world, featuring five Christie D4K40-RGB RealLaser projectors. The dome itself has been retrofitted with a Spitz NanoSeam screen, which hides the seams between panels. Content for the INTUITIVE® Planetarium will come from a variety of sources, including a variety of well-known planetarium shows like Destination Solar System and Explore. Special events at the Planetarium will include regular “Cocktails and Cosmos” features and date nights with child care provided, as well as visiting lecturers.

7. Rockets on Parade

Visitor Center Rocket on Parade

Rockets on Parade is a way to note our city’s ongoing contributions to the American space program with designs specific to the Rocket City, the monumental achievements of the Apollo program and the future of space travel through unique artistic expression. Rockets painted by local artists are on display at various points of interest, including the Huntsville/Madison County Visitor Center. Check out the online map to see where you can view these works of art around town!