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Downey’s Columbia Memorial Space Center Celebrates Apollo 11 Anniversary

 

 

APOLLO 11 Mission Control in 1969. The Columbia Memorial Space Center will celebrate the entire month of July with special events beginning July 13.

 

BY TAMMYE MCDUFF

On July 20, 1969, the first words, as we mere mortals know it, were spoken on the moon, “it’s one small step for man … one giant leap for mankind” and thus Neil Alden Armstrong placed his boot on the surface of the moon.

Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. The first steps by humans on another planetary body were taken by Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Apollo 11 achieved its primary mission – to perform a manned lunar landing and return safely to Earth, paving the way for the Apollo lunar landing missions to follow.

This summer there are many remembrances that will be held along with several documentaries that will be made public, but here in Southern California, in the city of Downey is where Apollo 11 was born. Gone are the acres of buildings and secret government programs, but in their place is the Columbia Memorial Space Center [CMSC], and they have an entire month of special events to celebrate the anniversary.

Beginning Saturday July 13th, the newest exhibit will open at CMSC. The Apollo 11 exhibit highlights the important contributions that Southern California made to get the United States to the moon, including artifacts from the first women and the first African American engineers to be displayed.

Apollo Summer Camp will be held twice this month at the CMSC on July 15th to July 19th and again July 22nd to July 26th. Campers, ages nine to fourteen will delve into the Apollo Moon landing with a full week of out of this world engineering at Space Camp.

Apollo Anniversary Week starts with a blast as CMSC holds the only approved rocket launch in SoCal on July 16th.  Attendees join the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in setting the world record for most rockets launched in one day.

A not-to-be- missed for the over-21 crowd is the Lunar Pub Crawl. Come explore some of Downey’s historical watering holes that many of the Apollo architects would frequent after long days.  At each stop you will meet some of those former engineers and share a pint as they regal their first hand experience of the Apollo program and Rockwell International back in the day.

CMSC joins artist Shag in creating an Apollo art exhibit at San Diego ComicCon International on the first floor with authentic Apollo artifacts July 18th to July 21st.  On July 20th the Space Center will also be leading a panel discussion about Apollo 11 at ComicCon at 3:30 at the San Diego Convention Center.

NASA Day will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission as the Space Center hosts the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Spectacular. NASA will be broadcasting segments from the Space Center on NASA TV and the Discovery Science channel. The day will feature hands-on activities, original performances from LA’s Chalk Rep theater company, projects from the CMSC’s Apollo Summer Campers and Girls in STEM Club. Historical Apollo relics will be on display and the opportunity to chat with Apollo alumni will transpire throughout the day.

Revel in the extraordinary, far reaching feats achieved on July 20th 1969 when the first human walked on the Moon. Celebrate the auspicious day in your best 1960’s attire at the CMSC. Apollo themed activities will go on throughout the day with break out dramatic performances portraying life in the Apollo Program, all while watching ‘live’ as Neil Armstrong takes his first giant leap. A special outdoor screening of “Apollo 11”, a documentary about the mission, will be shown that evening.

Come back to CMSC on Splashdown Day, July 24th and the Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins return to Earth and splash down into the Pacific Ocean.

For more information, times and dates visit the Columbia Memorial Space Center of Downey at www.columbiaspacescience.org

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