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The marvel of Apollo 11

Fifty years ago today, millions of people around the world watched as the Apollo 11 mission blasted off from Cape Kennedy in Florida, carrying the first men who would walk on the moon.

The marvel of that accomplishment, carried out only eight years since President John F. Kennedy had proposed a challenge to the nation — to land a man on the moon and bring him safely back by the end of the decade — is remarkable today.

Consider the technological challenge — to design and build spacecraft that could not only make the trip, but support life all the way there and back. A lot of the technology they needed hadn’t been designed yet. The tools they did have were primitive by comparison with today. The average cell phone has more memory and computing power than the computers aboard the Eagle, the module that landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon.

When Armstrong stepped onto the moon and said, “This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” he had it right. His one small step came as a result of 400,000 workers and billions of dollars in spending, all designed to put him on the moon and bring him home.

Fifty years ago, the Apollo 11 mission set off to accomplish mankind’s greatest achievement. We have done nothing in the years since to equal that grand and glorious trip to the moon and back.

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