The Latest: Apollo 11 astronaut returns to launch pad

Science & Technology

This March 30, 1969 photo made available by NASA shows the crew of the Apollo 11, from left, Neil Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, module pilot; Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, lunar module pilot. Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to the surface of the moon. (NASA via AP)

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

The Orlando Sentinel commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch by republishing its front page from 1969 and writing minute-by-minute accounts of launch day.

The headline on July 16, 1969, was simple: Moon, Here We Come.

The newspaper detailed how the day started for astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins as they prepared for launch.

The caption for a rendering of the astronauts read: Pioneers for Man’s Greatest Quest.

On its website, the Sentinel offered readers a look at the morning’s activities, complete with photos of the astronauts, Mission Control and the crowds that gathered along Florida’s Space Coast to watch history.

9:40 a.m.

Thousands of model rockets have been launched in Huntsville, Alabama, 50 years after the Apollo 11 crew blasted off for the moon.

Tuesday’s launch was done by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, which is attempting a world record.

Huntsville, known as Rocket City, was the home of the powerful Saturn V rocket that took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon.

The simultaneous rocket launch is one of many events planned commemorating the golden anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.

9:32 a.m.

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins has returned to the exact spot where he and two other astronauts flew to the moon 50 years ago.

At NASA’s invitation, Michael Collins spent the golden anniversary Tuesday morning at Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida. He marked the precise moment — 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969 — that their Saturn V rocket departed on humanity’s first moon landing. Buzz Aldrin was an unexplained no-show. Mission commander Neil Armstrong — who took the first lunar footsteps — died in 2012.

Collins says he wishes Aldrin and Armstrong could have shared the moment Tuesday at the pad. The 88-year-old astronaut was interviewed live on NASA TV.

The event kicks off a week of celebrations marking each day of Apollo 11’s eight-day voyage.

9:15 a.m.

The spacesuit that Apollo 11’s Neil Armstrong wore for that one small step on the moon is back on display in mint condition.

The 76-pound suit had been out of view and needed to be rehabbed before it was put on display Tuesday at the Air and Space Museum in Washington. On hand for the unveiling were Vice President Mike Pence, NASA chief Jim Bridenstine and Armstrong’s son, Rick.

A fundraising campaign took just five days to raise the $500,000 needed for the restoration.

Calling Armstrong a hero, Pence said “the American people express their gratitude by preserving this symbol of courage.”

The Apollo 11 crew of Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins launched to the moon 50 years ago Tuesday. Armstrong died in 2012.

4:30 a.m.

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.

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