Stennis workers remember historic Apollo 11 mission

By Michael Slother

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - When the Apollo 11 launched, people around the world watched in awe of the possibilities of space exploration. For Steve Dick, it was proof rocket tests done at the Mississippi Testing Facility in Hancock County were successful.

"As a group, all the people that were involved in this program were extremely proud of the accomplishment, and pretty choked up when a man stepped on the moon," Dick remembered.

But years before Neil Armstrong took those historic steps, hundreds of people in Mississippi worked to make sure the massive Saturn Five rockets would get the astronauts to the moon. Today, exhibits at the Stennis Space Center celebrate the success of the Apollo mission. And as Paul Foreman explains, NASA is making plans to return man to the moon.

"The technology that we're working on today will help us return to the moon. The goal is to have humans return to the moon by 2020. Almost 10 years from now, we'll be walking the surface of the moon again," Foreman said.

And according to Foreman, we'll be doing more than just walking. NASA envisions colonies on the moon to explore space area in greater detail.

"The Apollo program gave us the foundation that we need. The space shuttle program improved that technology and now the new Constellation program which will take us back to the moon is Apollo on steroids."

Those who helped with the launch 40 years can only imagine what future trips might do for mankind.

"I'd like to see us find resources that can help the people of this world," Dick said.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library created a new website to commemorate the mission with real time sound and images from 40 years ago. And NASA released some newly restored video today of the Apollo 11 mission. Just visit www.wechoosethemoon.org and www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/Apollo/index.html for more information.

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