Apollo 50+50 • March 13, 2019 • MIT Kresge Auditorium
“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”
These were the words of President John F. Kennedy, delivered to Congress May 25, 1961. Just over 10 weeks later, Dr. Charles Stark Draper, head of the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department and its Instrumentation Laboratory, received a telegram from Sen. Leverett Saltonstall of Massachusetts: “Pleased to advise that MIT’s Instrumentation Laboratory has been selected to develop the guidance navigation system of the Project Apollo spacecraft.” This was the first major contract of the Apollo Program.
On July 16, 1969, the world watched as three men climbed into the top of a 363-foot tall Saturn V at the Kennedy Space Center. The rocket roared from its pad and sent them more than 244,000 miles through space until they entered lunar orbit. Two of the men entered the spidery-looking Lunar Module, detached it from the Command Module, and descended to the lunar surface.
The Eagle had landed. One small step for a man. One giant leap for mankind. Perspectives of the moon, the earth, the universe, and what we are capable of achieving, changed forever. The lunar landing was a the product of a remarkable collaboration of visionaries, politicians, engineers, scientists, managers, and many others. It inspired generations to follow.
On March 13, MIT AeroAstro commemorates the 50th anniversary year of this historic event with the day-long symposium, Apollo 50+50, examining Apollo’s legacy and envisioning the next 50 years of human space exploration. Panel discussions and presentations will feature Apollo, Shuttle, and International Space Station astronauts, engineers, and scientists; MIT faculty and students; industry leaders, and special keynote speakers. And, there will be demos and displays, including artifacts from the MIT Museum.
We hope to see you at this unique event.