This NASA photo shows Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, lunar module pilot, as he walks on the surface of the Moon near the leg of the Lunar Module “Eagle” during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity on July 20, 1969. (NASA photo)

AF museum to commemorate 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing

On July 20, 1969, history was made during the Apollo 11 spaceflight as astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon.

Fifty years later, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will commemorate this historic feat by offering visitors an “out-of-this-world” experience, including an opportunity to meet an astronaut, build and launch rockets, interact with Star Wars characters and more during Family Day July 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Designed for children and adults of all ages, Family Day offers several hands-on opportunities for all to enjoy.

Activities begin at 9 a.m. and continue throughout the day. They will include virtual reality experiences; various space-related demonstrations on topics such as rocket guidance, orbits and microgravity; a scale model display; special displays of artifacts and archival materials from the Collections and Research Divisions; a pop culture display; Star Wars costumed characters; and space trivia.

Visitors can build rockets in the second building and launch them on museum grounds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or while supplies last, weather permitting).

Astronaut Mark Brown will be available to meet with the public and sign autographs on the Space Shuttle exhibit in the fourth building from 10 a.m. to noon. Brown served as a mission specialist on both Space Shuttle Columbia in 1989 and on Space Shuttle Discovery in 1991.

In addition, there will be five presentations in the Carney Auditorium with the first beginning at 11:30 a.m. and the last beginning at 4 p.m. on topics such as spacesuits, little known facts about the Apollo program, the effects of space on the human body and other issues.

According to National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Aerospace Educator Cindy Henry, it is important to not only remember this great achievement but to see its potential for encouraging young people to go even farther one day.

“The museum is thrilled to commemorate this momentous event with a day filled with exciting educational activities to remember the achievements of that day and to inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists and explorers,” said Henry.

Visitors can also check out the new space suit exhibit that recently opened at the museum. The exhibit contains a total of seven space suits spanning the earliest to latest in spaceflight, including those from the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle missions.

All activities are free, and no advanced reservations are necessary. For additional information, including the complete schedule of activities, visit or call the Education Division at 937-255-4646.

Some materials for the program are being provided by the Air Force Museum Foundation Inc. (Federal endorsement is not implied).

The Air Force Museum Foundation will offer several space-related films in the Air Force Museum Theatre, including “Apollo 11: First Steps 2D,” which plays daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; “Armstrong” on July 19 at 6:30 p.m. as part of the Living History Series; and “First Man” on July 28 at 4 p.m. as part of the Hollywood Film Series. For additional information or to purchase tickets visit

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 350 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space. For more information, visit


Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Family Day

July 20, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Displays, Demos and Activities

Bldg. 3

Virtual reality experiences –Apollo 11 HD and Trip to the Moon

Bldg. 4:

Space-related demos

Artifact displays

Pop culture displays

Scale models of spacecraft

Space trivia

Tour guides in the Missile Gallery and Space Gallery and Star Wars characters

10 a.m. – noon

Meet an Astronaut – Retired Col. Mark Brown, USAF

Bldg. 4, Space Shuttle Exhibit

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Build and launch model rockets (free - while supplies last)

Build the rockets in Bldg. 2

Launch the rockets in museum front lawn until 4:30 p.m. (weather permitting) (only rockets built at museum are permitted to be launched)

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturn V Rocket Launch (every hour, on the hour)

The Wright Stuff Rocketeers will conduct a demonstration launch of a 1:200 scale Saturn V Rocket (moon rocket). Location: Front lawn (weather permitting)

11:30 a.m.

Presentation: Spacesuits – The Well-Dressed Astronaut

Hear a presentation by Dr. Doug Lantry, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, historian, Location: Carney Auditorium

1 p.m.

Presentation: Effects of Space on the Human Body

Hear a presentation by Maj. Daniel Catrambone, U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, Aerospace and Operational Physiologist. Location: Carney Auditorium

1 p.m.

Recognition Ceremony: Student Aviation Art & Writing Competition winners

Earlier this year the winners were selected for the museum’s annual Student Aviation Art and Writing Competition. The themes of these competitions related to Apollo 11. The winners will be recognized during a short ceremony, Location: Bldg. 4, Presidential Gallery

2 p.m.

Presentation: Apollo Missions – Little Known Facts

Hear a presentation by Don Meyer, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, volunteer. Location: Carney Auditorium

3 p.m.

Presentation: How the Air Force helped put men on the moon

Hear a presentation by Kevin Rusnak, Air Force Research Laboratory, historian. Location: Carney Auditorium

4 p.m. Presentation: Setting the Stage – Apollo 1 through Apollo 11

Hear a presentation by Paul Wren, Project Support Team for Apollo 7 through Apollo 11. Location: Carney Auditorium

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