Didn’t think you would ever see a 363-foot Saturn V rocket projected on to the Washington Monument? Well, a large group of people can remember a time where no one thought they would ever see a man on the moon, either.
July 20, 2019, marks 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first men to walk on the moon on the Apollo 11 mission. Celebrations and exhibits in honor of the half-century anniversary are being held around the world.
Here’s where and when to embark on the honorary intergalactic events in Washington, DC throughout the week.
Niel Armstrong’s Apollo 11 Spacesuit
Starting July 16
Funded by thousands of public donations in a Kickstarter campaign called Reboot the Suit, the spacesuit that Armstrong wore on the moon recently underwent an overhaul conservation process and will be on display for the first time in over a decade. Visitors can find the display in the Wright Brothers gallery, with the American flag emblazoned on the left shoulder and the original patches just under the front of the helmet. // Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Independence Avenue at Sixth St. SW, Washington, DC; free
“Project Egress” Build
July 18, 11 a.m.
As a collaboration between former Mythbusters star Adam Savage and tested.com, Savage will do a live build of Apollo 11’s Command Module Columbia, using 3D scans captured by the Smithsonian’s Digitization Program Office and archived original engineering sketches. The life-size replica of the hatch will be made with fabricated materials from over 44 artists and will take place through midday. Can’t catch the live build? Download the model files and drawings here to build your own. // Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Independence Avenue at Sixth Street SW, Washington, DC; free
One Giant Leap: Space Diplomacy Past, Present, Future
Have you ever wondered just how much of an impact the Space Race had on democracy and international diplomacy? Attend the panel featuring major general Michael Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut and former assistant secretary of state for public affairs, Dr. Ellen Stofan, director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, and major general Charles Bolden, U.S. Science Envoy for Space and former NASA administrator and space shuttle commander. The panel will discuss how Apollo-era space diplomacy should inform foreign relations today and what the political significance was behind the Apollo program. // Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University: 730 21st St. NW, Washington, DC; free tickets offered online (required for attendance)
Discover the Moon Day
July 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Don’t just imagine the moon, learn everything you can about it throughout this jam-packed day of activities. Start at the Lunar Module and retrace the steps of the original path the Apollo 11 astronauts walked, make pit stops at various stations and learn about the landing site. View meteorites that came from the Moon; learn about the different radars and orbiters used on earth and in space to study and track the night sky; and visit the planetarium to see Mission on the Moon, an astronomy show that takes you closer to the stars than your own imagination. // Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Independence Avenue at Sixth St. SW, Washington, DC; free
Apollo 50 Go for the Moon
July 16-18, 9:30 p.m. to midnight (projection); July 19-20 (show)
So, you can’t make it to the Kennedy Space Center to see the original launch area … but you are in the nation’s capital. Lucky for you, the National Air and Space Museum will be hosting two different events that will make you feel as if you were there during the rocket launch. Tuesday through Thursday, there will be a projection of a full-size 363-foot Saturn V rocket onto the east side of the Washington Monument, leading up to two nights of a 17-minute show that will feature a projection with mapping artwork and archival footage, as well as a 40-foot recreation of the Kennedy Space Center countdown clock. Viewing areas are on the National Mall in front of the Smithsonian Castle between Ninth and 12th Streets. // Washington Monument: 2 15th St. NW, Washington, DC; free
Apollo 50 Festival
July 18-20, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Saturday until 8 p.m.)
The outdoor celebration hosted by the National Air and Space Museum and NASA will host 20 tented displays featuring hands-on exhibits from NASA, Boeing and the LEGO group. Live performances will be held by Ready, Jet, Go!. Including costumed characters, andMythbusters‘ Adam Savage is set to speak. Other special guests including NASA scientists and engineers are soon to be announced. // Across from the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum: Between Seventh St. and Fourth St., Washington DC
For a day-by-day schedule and more information, visit si.edu.
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