Apollo 11 at 50: A Salute to the Moon Landing

July 10, 2019

With a half-Earth in the background, the Lunar Module ascent stage with Moon-walking astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. approaches for a rendezvous with the Apollo Command Module manned by Michael Collins.  The Apollo 11 liftoff from the Moon came early, ending a 22-hour stay on the Moon by Armstrong and Aldrin. (Photos by NASA and CNS.)

Half century ago, Houstonians joined millions across the world, including St. Paul VI, in witnessing a landmark event: the Apollo 11 moon landing.

That legendary day, July 20, 1969, would change Houston, and the world beyond.


Houston would become the iconic Space City. The Astros, The Comets, The Rockets, The Dynamo; all Houston's pro sports teams would eventually reflect that space flight. 

But on that day, when Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins approached the Moon, the three NASA astronauts were speaking directly to Houston. 

Then, after the collective effort of thousands successfully launched the crew to the Moon, the astronauts reached the Moon. And touch down. 

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed," Armstrong said into his radio.

The crew at Mission Control at NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston's Bay Area responded: "Roger, Tranquility, we copy you on the ground. You've got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot."

Like those at Mission Control, the millions watching on television - including the pope himself - could breathe a sigh of relief.

In the July 9 issue of the Texas Catholic Herald, we salute the effort of those who worked to send man to the Moon, as well as recall major historic moments in Houston's NASA history, explore the Catholic Church's history with science and faith, the nightly work of the Vatican Observatory and look forward to the future in space exploration. We also continue digital-only coverage of the #Apollo50 anniversary here online at www.archgh.org/tch