News & Politics

For Apollo 11 Anniversary, the Washington Monument Becomes a Moon Landing Rocket

For Apollo 11 Anniversary, the Washington Monument Becomes a Moon Landing Rocket
Twitter screenshot of the Washington Monument lit up like a Saturn V rocket, courtesy of the National Air and Space Museum.

On Tuesday night, the National Air and Space Museum projected an image of the Apollo 11 Moon mission launch on the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., complete with a countdown clock. The inspiring display will continue for two more nights. Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, which culminated in Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin setting foot upon the Moon.

“Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, featuring a 363-foot Saturn V rocket projected on the east face of the Washington Monument and a special ‘Apollo 50: Go for the Moon’ show. This presentation was conceived and commissioned by the National Air and Space Museum, and is made possible through a partnership with the U.S. Department of the Interior and 59 Productions,” the event website explains.

If you missed the show, don’t worry — there’s still time! The projection was live from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night, and it will be live in that same time slot on Wednesday night and Thursday night. There are viewing areas on the National Mall in front of the Smithsonian Castle between 9th and 12th Streets.

And that’s not all! “It all builds up to July 19 and 20, when we will present ‘Apollo 50: Go for the Moon,’ a 17-minute show that will combine full-motion projection mapping artwork and archival footage to recreate the launch of Apollo 11 and tell the story of the first Moon landing. The show will unfold on the face of the Washington Monument and supporting screens, including a 40-foot-wide recreation of the famous Kennedy Space Center countdown clock.”

That show will run at 9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m., and 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

In other inspiring news, Americans will be headed to the Moon again in a few years.

Last week, Apollo 11 and Apollo 13 flight director Gene Kranz praised the Trump administration’s handling of NASA, saying that “it’s great to again have the inspiration that we’re getting moving again in space.” Trump has pledged to return Americans to the Moon by 2024. In 2010, former President Barack Obama canceled NASA’s plan to return to the Moon by 2020, as established under former President George W. Bush.

Enjoy this brief video of the projection, courtesy of The Hill.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.