A Saturn V rocket is projected on the Washington Monument during a 17-minute multimedia presentation in the nation’s capital celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. (NASA Photo / Bill Ingalls)
Fifty years after Apollo 11’s moonwalkers took one giant leap for humanity, luminaries including President Donald Trump and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos — the world’s richest individual — paid tribute to the achievement and looked forward to the future of spaceflight.
Today’s observances were about more than memories: There were also fresh questions about where that future might lead — and a Russian rocket launch that resonated with references to the U.S.-Soviet space race of the 1960s.
The marquee observance on today’s anniversary of the landing on July 20, 1969, came at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where Vice President Mike Pence invoked the legacy of the Apollo program and hailed NASA’s initiative to send astronauts to the moon once again by 2024.
The new initiative — which has been dubbed Artemis, in honor of Apollo’s sister in Greek mythology — aims to send “the next man and the first woman” to the lunar surface and demonstrate America’s continuing primacy in space, the vice president said.