AIn July 1969, when Neil Armstrong spoke his famous words about the “Great Move for Humanity,” there was a good four-day journey behind him: from Florida to the moon. The crew of Apollo 11 had traveled about 384,400 kilometers. At times, the astronauts had raced through space at 39,000 km / h.
Today, if you want to follow in the footsteps of the twelve Americans who entered the moon in the years 1969 to 1972, you should first sit in a fast aircraft – and cross the Atlantic within a few hours.
In the US, several visitor centers and museums are dedicated to the activities of NASA. 50 years after the success of Apollo 11, the moon landings in the summer of 2019 are clearly in the spotlight. What is offered? An overview.
Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida
From the military area on Florida's east coast, the massive Saturn V rockets once shot into the sky. All Apollo flights started here, as did the space shuttles later.
When the US resumed its lunar program rather than planned, three approximately 110-meter-long Saturn V missiles were left unused.
One of them is located in Cape Canaveral in the huge hangar of the Apollo / Saturn V Center, which is currently being extensively renovated and expanded, according to the operator for the moon landing anniversary.
The Kennedy Space Center can be visited during a bus tour. Also on display are the space capsule of the Apollo 14 moon mission, which was returned to Earth in 1971, as well as the moon dust-covered space suit of its commander Alan Shepard.
As a special activity, there are 16th of July, the anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, a “Flashback” event: The countdown from then until the launch of the rocket at 9.32 o'clock local time should be modeled true to detail. For this historical filming can be seen.
Space Center Houston, Texas
“Houston, we have a problem”: The phrase, voiced by astronaut Jim Lovell during the crashed and then spectacularly rescued Apollo 13 mission, has become as famous as Neil Armstrong's first words on the moon.
In Houston was the control center of the moon flights, the Space Center offers tours to Johnson Space Center on NASA. Its control room will be refurbished from July onwards.
With its consoles and displays, it will look exactly like it did in 1969. The “Nasa Tram Tour” also leads here to an original, unused Saturn V rocket. Visitors can also touch a real moonstone.
On display are also the space capsule of the last moon mission Apollo 17, the space suit of Apollo 12 commander Pete Conrad and the lectern, where US President John F. Kennedy announced in 1962 that he wanted to bring astronauts to the moon and back in ten years.
from 16th to 24th of July is celebrated in Houston big, the focus is the July 20 as the anniversary of the moon landing. The countdown culminates at 21:56 local time, the time of Neil Armstrong's first step on the Earth satellite. There is also an open-air concert, lectures and special tours.
US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama
The moon rockets were once constructed and tested here in northern Alabama. At the Marshall Space Flight Center, an engineering team led by the German Wernher von Braun had worked for years on the Saturn V. Today, Huntsville is Alabama's most visited tourist attraction, the US Space & Rocket Center.
The third of the remaining Saturn V rockets from the 1960s hangs in the Space & Rocket Center under a hall ceiling. A few meters away is the space capsule of the Apollo 16 astronauts. In front of the door another Saturn V is pointing like a giant finger to the sky. It is not an original, but a replica of 1999.
In keeping with the history of this Nasa site, the museum in Huntsville clearly focuses the exhibition on rocket technology for the journey to the moon.
At the 20th of July there is a concert, the night before is to be danced on the streets of Huntsville. Already at 16th of July is a world record attempt for the “Guinness Book” planned: About 5000 small rockets are to be shot at the same time in the sky over Huntsville and return on parachutes to Earth.
Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C.
The National Air and Space Museum at the National Mall in the US capital is one of the most visited museums in the United States. In addition to space travel, the history of aviation is in the foreground.
Since 2003, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport in neighboring Virginia has had an offshoot offering enough space for larger exhibits. One of the exhibits is the Space Shuttle “Discovery”, which was decommissioned in 2011. As with all Smithsonian museums, entry is also free here.
The permanent exhibition includes a copy of the lunar module, which was built in the 1960s for a test flight in space, but then was not used. For the 16th of July The museum has announced that the space suit, which Neil Armstrong once carried on the moon, will be exhibited again after an elaborate preservation – for the first time after 13 years of interruption.
On the occasion of the anniversary will take place from 16th to 20th of July A big festival is taking place in the museum and on the National Mall. The focus is on 19th of July the “Discover the Moon Day”: Visitors can get in touch with scientists from the museum and see high-resolution images of a lunar probe that is currently in its entirety. The iconic moonwalk of astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin will also be used to recreate visitors at the museum on this day.
What else is there to see?
The National Air and Space Museum is currently working on the exhibition “Destination Moon”, which will be on permanent display there from 2022 onwards. In addition to Armstrong's space suit, she is also the space capsule “Columbia” show, with the Apollo 11 astronauts returned to Earth in 1969 and landed in the Pacific Ocean.
The capsule has long been part of the Fund of the National Air and Space Museum, but has been on a tour of other museums in the United States since 2017. After stops in Houston, St. Louis and Pittsburgh, it will be on display at the Museum of Flight in Seattle until September 2 (www.museumofflight.org).
Anyone traveling to this northwest Florida-Texas city during their US vacation may also want to visit the Craters of the Moon National Monument in the Rocky Mountains state of Idaho. NASA used this remote landscape of cold lava flows in the 1960s briefly for astronaut training; an information center on the edge of the area informs about this topic.
The Craters of the Moon, however, are nearly 1100 kilometers from Seattle. Although overcoming this distance does not mean a “big step for humanity”, it is easy to feel the way in the loneliness of the American West that the crew of Apollo 11 may have felt: Sometimes it takes a long time to reach the finish line his journey arrives.
Over the Atlantic to the moon
Nonstop flights to Houston, Washington D.C. and Seattle there are daily from Frankfurt / Main for example with Condor (www.condor.de) or with United Airlines (www.united.com). Cape Canaveral in the state of Florida is located about 70 kilometers east of the airport of Orlando, which is also served regularly from Frankfurt non-stop, for example, by the Lufthansa (www.lufthansa.com).
Arrivals from other German cities demand exactly the same Huntsville in Alabama at least one change at another airport in the United States or about a three and a half hour drive from Atlanta in the neighboring state. Georgia.
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