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Apollo 11 astronauts returning to launch pad exactly 50 years later

Posted: 8:01 AM, Jul 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-07-16 08:01:05-04

Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin Jr., the crew members of NASA’s Apollo 11 lunar landing mission, pose for a group portrait a weeks before the July 16, 1969 launch. (Space Frontiers/Getty Images)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Apollo 11’s astronauts are returning to the exact spot from where they flew to the moon 50 years ago.

NASA has invited Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Tuesday. They will mark the precise moment — 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969 — that their Saturn V rocket departed on humanity’s first moon landing. Mission commander Neil Armstrong — who took the first lunar footsteps — died in 2012.

It kicks off eight days of golden anniversary celebrations for each day of Apollo 11’s voyage.

Also Tuesday morning, 5,000 model rockets are set to launch simultaneously at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. At the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, Armstrong’s newly restored spacesuit goes on display.