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  1. Cuzican Aerospace celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 with a tastefully artistic photoshoot on the Mun. Note: It's really hard to get Kerbals to stay still for a photo. They'll see anything shiny and BOOM they're gone. SPOILERS: Easter egg. Main mods: ReStock/ReStock+: Near Future Technologies: Rocket Emporium: Music: "Heroic Age" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
  2. A Reflection on Sacrifice. Lo var Lachland On this day, 50 years ago, the United States embarked on undoubtedly one of the most daunting endeavors known to man. Three brave men, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin boarded the 636 foot Saturn V launch vehicle to complete a mission that had been issued by President Kennedy eight years prior. These three men carried the mission and ambition of all mankind with them 240,000 miles away from Earth. On July 16th, 1969, these small dots in the grand scheme of things began their four-day trip to another celestial body, the first human beings to ever set foot on another planet or moon in the solar system. After years of being technologically behind the USSR, the US finally pulled forward long enough to make what is widely regarded as the most amazing feat of engineering ever known to man. These men were the inspiration for future missions, along with hundreds of thousands of engineers, mechanics, mathematicians, presidents, royals, and people from all walks of life: men, women, black, white, old, and young. These three men carried the hope of Gus Grissom, Roger Chaffee, Ed White, Robert Lawrence Jr., Vladimir Komarov, Valentin Bondarenko, and all other casualties of the space-race. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten, Russian, American, or any other nationality, for the benefit of all humankind. Ad Astra, Neil Armstrong. You will always have a permanent footprint on the Moon. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- My father grew up during the space era. He was born a few years after Robert Kennedy made his historic speech to the American People. Those now famous words are engraved in every American person's head, as well as any Space lover. We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. -John F. Kennedy, 1962 Eight years later, that American dream became a reality. My father was too young to witness Apollo II, but he does distinctly remember other missions that he witnessed from his uncle's trailer park on Merritt Island. Mainly Apollo 17 and Skylab. "I was engrossed by the experience. The power of those F1 engines and the sight of a 600 foot needle launching into the sky kickstarted my love for spaceflight from an early age. Watching Skylab was especially fascinating. The extra size of that customized Saturn V and the thought of the first American space station to enter orbit was a thought that has stuck around with me to this day, watching Elon Musk launch his Falcon series of rockets. I never thought I would see the rise of spaceflight again in my lifetime, but thanks to private corporations, I can once again re-live those memories as a young boy at Merritt Island with binoculars and a lemonade. I have had the pleasure of meeting people such as James Irwin and Mission Control members, but what my children and grandchildren will be able to witness is something more amazing than I can ever imagine." --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For myself personally, watching the first Falcon Heavy launch was an especially emotional experience. I know the sacrifice that it took to reach the Moon, and the 24 NASA astronauts who have lost their lives to the exploration of space, and watching a normal civilian with private funding launch his own car into space was honestly one of the first times I have ever physically teared up watching TV. I was celebrating so much when those two boosters landed back at the cape. Clinking glasses, cheers of affirmation, and a confirmation that Mars wasn't too far off was one of the more incredible experiences in my life. Knowing that I will be alive (fate willing) for the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the Moon makes me wonder. Will we be celebrating from Mars? Will NASA be launching rockets with the frequency of SpaceX? Will all nations be working together for the collective goal of mankind? Will there be permanent bases on the Moon? A 16 year old may dream, but today, as I realize that at the moment of writing this 50 years ago, three men were drifting through the endless eternity of space hundreds of thousands of miles away from Earth, it makes me proud of the human race and what we have achieved.