In the summer of 1969 our family made its annual pilgrimage to the sea – Myrtle Beach – for a week of sun and fun. We were set to return home on Sunday, July 20.
I watched Apollo 11's liftoff on the morning of July 16th on the tiny TV in our rented efficiency apartment at Windy Hill Beach. As the week wore on, however, I became increasingly anxious about making it home in time for the scheduled late-afternoon broadcast of the moon landing.
My formative years corresponded with the space race. I was a space nerd. My parents bought me a rudimentary set of headphones, to plug into our old B&W tube set, so I could arise in the early hours before the rest of the house was awake to watch liftoffs. And I watched them all, from Alan Shepard onward. What I didn't want to miss, of course, was the greatest feat of human exploration, and the de facto culmination of the space race – landing on the moon.
We had rolled north early Sunday morning for the 8-hour trek back our home in Charleston, WV. Somewhere near the Virginia-West Virginia border there was a bad car accident that backed up traffic. Bad enough that dad shut down the engine and we sat parked for what seemed to me to be hours.
Eventually, we made it home, just in time for me to catch the broadcast of the landing. I rushed in to get the tube warmed up as the rest of the family unloaded from our vacation trip. Later that same evening we watched, along with most of the rest of the planet, as Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary we created "Moon Stats: Apollo 11's Mission by the Numbers," an infographic that collects some fascinating details (such as how many dehydrated cheese sandwiches the crew had onboard) from the epic mission when man first walked on the moon. The print is available in three sizes, framed and unframed.
Interested in following the Apollo 11 Mission step-by-step 50 years later? Check out this cool interactive timeline from Knight Lab.