Apollo 11 at 50: Take Off!

50 years ago today, Apollo 11 and its crew of three – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins – blasted off from Pad 39A at Cape Canaveral.

10 years ago on downthetubes, Jeremy Briggs wrote a 40th anniversary day-by-day celebration series of articles marking the Apollo 11 mission, featuring contemporary British comics and illustrations – and you can read his 16th July 1969 entry here, which spotlights the Apollo launch and the work of artist Roy Cross for Airfix.

On July 16, 1969, the huge, 363-feet tall Saturn V rocket launches on the Apollo 11 mission from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, at 9:32 a.m. EDT. Image: NASA
On July 16, 1969, the huge, 363-feet tall Saturn V rocket launches on the Apollo 11 mission from Pad A, Launch Complex 39, Kennedy Space Center, at 9:32 a.m. EDT. Image: NASA
The Times, 16th July 1969 - The World's Dearest Suit
The Times, 16th July 1969 – The World’s Dearest Suit
This picture of the Apollo 11 astronauts heading to their rocket was not published in The Times until 17th July 1969
This picture of the Apollo 11 astronauts heading to their rocket was not published in The Times until 17th July 1969
Audible - The Space Race

Before you head to that, though, you may also want to check out Audible‘s brilliant audio documentary series The Space Race, narrated by Golden Globe and Emmy-nominee Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black, Star Trek: Voyager).

Produced by B7 Media, the company that brought you the Dan Dare Audio Adventures, The Martian Chronicles and Dilation, the ten episode series marks the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing, charting the definitive story of the past, present and future of humankind’s exploration of space.

Race into Space Brooke Bond Card - Vostok

The Space Race uses archive, original interviews, dramatic reconstructions and first-hand accounts to tell the story of mankind’s first amazing steps off our world towards the future of our civilisation.

Brilliantly put together – I’ve been listening to it over the last few days – with unprecedented access, The Space Race gives listeners access to Virgin Galactic’s space programme in the Mojave Desert, features conversations with spacenauts Buzz Aldrin, Gene Cernan, Sergei Krikalev, Tim Peake and numerous key players at mission control, and pulls back the curtain on untold aspects of the space-exploration story.


• “Moon Landing 40th Anniversary: A Comics Celebration” Gallery on Flickr

• Coinciding with Jeremy’s countdown to the 40th Anniversary of the first Moon Landing, downthetubes published “Moon Landing 40th Anniversary: A Comics Celebration” – a gallery of illustrations and comic art inspired by space exploration

NASA: Apollo 11 in Real Time, 50 Years Later

NASA: Frequently Asked Questions about Apollo

The Race into Space Tea Cards – available from the London Cigarette Card Company


Links are AmazonUK Affiliates – please help support downthetubes

Apollo GN - Cover

Apollo by Matt Fitch, Chris Baker and Mike Collins

Neil Armstrong, Edwin ”Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins carried the fire for all the world. Backed by the brightest minds in engineering and science, the three boarded a rocket and flew through the void―just to know that we could. 

In the graphic novel, Apollo, Matt Fitch, Chris Baker, and Mike Collins unpack the urban legends, the gossip, and the speculation to reveal a remarkable true story about life, death, dreams, and the reality of humanity’s greatest exploratory achievement.

Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys by Michael Collins

The years that have passed since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins piloted the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the moon in July 1969 have done nothing to alter the fundamental wonder of the event: man reaching the moon remains one of the great events – technical and spiritual – of our lifetime. In this remarkable book, Michael Collins conveys, a very personal way, the drama, beauty, and humour of that adventure. He also traces his development from his first flight experiences in the air force, through his days as a test pilot, to his Apollo 11 space walk, presenting an evocative picture of the joys of flight as well as a new perspective on time, light, and movement from someone who has seen the fragile Earth from the other side of the moon.

• Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut’s Journey to Earth
by Al Worden and Francis French

As command module pilot for the Apollo 15 mission to the moon in 1971, Al Worden flew on what is widely regarded as the greatest exploration mission that humans have ever attempted. He spent six days orbiting the moon, including three days completely alone, the most isolated human in existence. During the return from the moon to earth he also conducted the first spacewalk in deep space, becoming the first human ever to see both the entire earth and moon simply by turning his head. The Apollo 15 flight capped an already-impressive career as an astronaut, including important work on the pioneering Apollo 9 and Apollo 12 missions, as well as the perilous flight of Apollo 13.

Nine months after his return from the moon, Worden received a phone call telling him he was fired and ordering him out of his office by the end of the week. He refused to leave.

Apollo 11: The Inside Story
by David Whitehouse
Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

David Whitehouse reveals the true drama behind the Apollo 11 mission, putting it in the context of the wider space race and telling the story in the words of those who took part – based around exclusive interviews with the key players.


• The Space Race: An Audible Original
By Colin Brake, Patrick Chapman, and more

Winner of the Gold Science & Technology trophy at the 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards. The 1960s space race captured our imaginations and our dreams. This major documentary-drama series brings to life the past, present, and future of man’s exploration of space. Between 1969 and 1972, twelve Americans walked on the moon. You’ll get to experience the thrill of that era and much, much more.


Picturing Apollo 11: Rare Views and Undiscovered Moments
by J.L. Pickering & John Bisney
Hardcover – Illustrated
Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Picturing Apollo 11 is an unprecedented photographic history of the space mission that defined an era. Through a wealth of unpublicized and recently discovered images, this book presents new and rarely-seen views of the people, places, and events involved in the pioneering first moon landing of 20th July, 1969

Apollo 11 (DVD)
Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

From director Todd Douglas Miller (Dinosaur 13) comes a cinematic event 50 years in the making. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission – the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names.

Apollo 11 Moon Landing: 50th Anniversary Collection (DVD)
Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Over eight hours of content including the Apollo 11 moon walk, an interview with Neil Armstrong and the brand new documentary, 8 Days: To The Moon and Back. This 50th anniversary collection contains the most important examples of the BBC’s comprehensive coverage of the Apollo missions to the Moon.


Revell 04909 Apollo Saturn V 1:144 Scale Unbuilt/Unpainted Plastic Model Kit

Revell RV03703 03703 Gift Set Apollo 11 Spacecraft with Interior (1:32 Scale) Plastic model kit

Metal Earth MMS078 Metal Model – Apollo Lunar Module


Apollo 11 Mission Badge

Apollo 11 at 50: The Race to the Moon celebrated in British comics

Apollo 11 at 50: Take Off!

Apollo 11 at 50: The Race to the Moon – The Journey to the Moon

Apollo 11 at 50: Half Way to the Moon

Apollo 11 at 50: Dangers of the Mission

Apollo 11 at 50: The Eagle Has Landed

Apollo 11 at 50: The First Moon Landing, illustrated by Frank Bellamy

Apollo 11 at 50: Returning Home

Apollo 11 at 50: Whatever Happened to the Space Race?

Apollo 11 at 50: Back to the Moon… and Beyond?

Categories: Audio, downthetubes News, Events, Other Worlds

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