“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Those were the iconic words Neil Armstrong said as he took the first steps on the moon. Today is the 50th anniversary of the journey American astronauts took to break the barrier between the moon and mankind.

According to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum website, the Apollo 11 mission launched July 16, 1969, at 08:32 a.m. CDT from the Kennedy Space Center. With a crew of three — Neil Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin, lunar module pilot — the mission succeeded with a moon landing July 20 at 3:17:40 p.m. CDT.

After successfully landing the Eagle lunar module, Armstrong took the first step on the moon at 9:56:15 p.m. CDT on July 20, 1969. Aldrin followed Armstrong onto the moon as Collins stayed in the lunar orbit in the command module.

Armstrong and Aldrin spent approximately 21 hours, 38 minutes and 21 seconds on the moon before rejoining Collins in the command module, and returned to the Kennedy Space Center on July 24, 1969, at 11:50:35 p.m. CDT. The Apollo 11 mission duration was exactly 195 hours, 18 minutes and 35 seconds.

According to History.com, the Apollo 11 mission succeeded due to the work of about 400,000 engineers, technicians and scientists, and cost $24 billion — the equivalent of about $100 billion today.

The Grand Island Independent, formerly The Grand Island Daily Independent, published AP stories about the moon landings both July 21, 1969, and July 22, 1969. The original prints are archived and available for the public to revisit the historic day.

For people in the Hastings area, The Hastings Museum of Natural and Cultural History is having a celebration starting Saturday, July 20.

Showing of Apollo 11 (Rated G)

Saturday: 9:15 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.

Showing is free to museum members, but non-members can watch with buying a museum admission

Planetarium Show

Saturday: 3, 4 and 6 p.m.

Sunday: 1, 2 and 3 p.m.

Show will have highlights of Apollo 11’s journey and photographs of the moon.

Free to museum members and non-members can attend with a museum admission.

Astronomy on Tap (21+)

Saturday: 9-11 p.m.

Look at the sky with the museum’s new telescopes with drinks from First Street Brewery.

Freewill donations accepted. Cash bar available.

Register for events online at hastingsmuseum.org. or by calling (402) 461-2399.

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Natalie Saenz is The Independent's summer intern for 2019. She welcomes news tips and information 24/7!

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