It’s one of the most important moments in the history of humanity, an achievement that continues to inspire today.
When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon 50 years ago, the planet was in awe, including those who’d go on to lead Europe’s space sector.
“At that time I was 15 years old and we had a TV, and I was sitting there the whole night,” remembers Jan Wörner, Director General of the European Space Agency. “And I was so excited afterwards that I did not go to bed afterwards, so I stayed the whole night.”
“I’m so old that I remember the Moon landings, I remember watching it on a big black and white television in the school hall as a kid,” says David Parker, Director of Human and Robotic Exploration a the European Space Agency. “And that inspiration, that time of technological challenge, there was the first flight of Concorde, there was so much going on, it really excited me personally.”
Apollo-era control room restored
To celebrate the anniversary, NASA has restored the old control room from which the Apollo-era flight directors oversaw the mission. It’s a place of pilgrimage for their successors:
“When I was selected as a flight director, that’s where I went,” says Holly Ridings, Chief Flight Director at Nasa. “So this was years ago, when I first became a flight director and not the Chief. I drove up to the Johnson Space Centre and just sat in the room and thought about the enormous responsibility of carrying on the legacy that they started.”