On this day 50 years ago, three astronauts began their journey to the moon.

Today, July 16, 20219, marks 50 years since astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins began their historic flight to the moon. 

“By 6:45 a.m. this day in 1969, the astronauts had eaten their steak-and-egg breakfasts, suited up, and had strapped themselves into the spacecraft. The weight of the moment hung thick in the air and the world watched as the crew prepared to make humanity’s inaugural flight to the lunar surface.

At 9:32 a.m., NASA’s Saturn V rocket ignited and, with 7.6 million lbs. (34.5 million newtons) of thrust, lifted off from launch pad 39A. Perfect weather met the Apollo 11 launch and spectators flocked to Kennedy Space Center and the surrounding area in Florida to catch a glimpse of the 363-foot (111-meter) tall rocket blasting off from Earth. “

-Chelsea Gohd from Space.com

That historic morning was just the beginning of an 8-day expedition to put humans on the Moon for the first time.

Four days into the journey, on July 20th, the world would hear those famous words as Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the Moon: “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

You can join us in honoring and celebrating this unprecedented moment experienced not only by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, but by the entire world.

This week, institutions across the country are celebrating Apollo 11. From parties to educational events and so much more, there are dozens of Apollo events that will be celebrating the incredible launch, landing, and return of the Apollo 11 astronauts and spacecraft.

Or, you can read more about Armstrong and Aldrin, their lives as young men, and what led them to this monumental moment. We like to think that their Scouting background might have helped!

Looking Forward After 50 Years

After 50 years of space travel for humans, we can look back and easily see where we have been. However, it is looking forward that fuels the imagination and inspires us to travel farther.

The Moon landing’s ultimate significance was not that the race had ended or even that a once unimaginable milestone had been attained. This achievement was really just the beginning.

This is an important lesson for young explorers, and Scouts alike. The greatest journey starts with a single step. A small step for one man; a giant leap for all of humankind.

The future of space travel and exploration is up to the next generation, many of whom could be Scouts, just like the first men on the Moon. And maybe it will all start with a step as small, and seemingly insignificant, as a Space Exploration Merit Badge. Through programs like Scouting, these next generations are more and more prepared to ask the intriguing questions that will get them there.

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