Meet an astronaut at Wright Brothers Memorial celebrates first moon landing

Hundreds gathered around TVs set-up outside the Wright Brothers Memorial visitors center to watch the landing. [Photos courtesy NPS]

Wright Brothers National Memorial invites the public to help celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the First Lunar Landing through a series of special events from July 18-21. Wright Brothers National Memorial will be fee-free on July 20, and open until 9 p.m.

Special guest on July 20th will be active NASA Astronaut Eric A. Boe (Colonel, U.S. Air Force Retired). Eric Boe was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2000, and is a veteran of two space shuttle flights, serving as a pilot for the Space Shuttles Endeavour and Discovery. Boe and his crewmates are currently working closely with Boeing to develop their new spacecraft systems, which will provide crew transportation services to the International Space Station and return the ability to launch humans into space from United States soil.

Boe will give a special “Ask an Astronaut” program and take part in a public meet-and-greet on Saturday, July 20th, prior to speaking at the evening’s feature event. Wright Brothers National Memorial appreciates First Flight Foundation’s efforts to make Eric Boe’s visit to the Outer Banks possible.


NASA Astronaut Eric A. Boe

During the evening of July 20th, a viewing party will  be held on the grounds of Wright Brothers National Memorial from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., where the original news footage of the first lunar landing will be rebroadcast. This will recreate a viewing party that took place at the visitor center on July 20, 1969.

Thursday, July 18

6:30pm Apollo 11 Activities at Dowdy Park (Ranger Program)

Join Park Rangers for hands-on learning activities for kids prior to the 8pm movie showing.

8pm “Apollo 11” Documentary at Dowdy Park (Special Event)

At around 8:00 p.m., the “Apollo 11” documentary will be shown at Dowdy Park in Nags Head. This free event is supported by the First Flight Foundation.

Friday, July 19

10am, 11am, Sand Dunes & Moon Dust (Ranger Program)

12pm, 4pm Learn about the events leading to the first powered flight in 1903 and its
similarities to the Apollo 11 mission.

1pm, 2:30pm The Wright Stuff (Ranger Program)

Explore the Legacy of the Wright Brothers from Kitty Hawk to Tranquility Base

Saturday, July 20

10am, 11am, 4pm Sand Dunes & Moon Dust (Ranger Program)

Learn about the events leading to the first powered flight in 1903 and its similarities to the Apollo 11 mission.

10am, 3pm, 4:30pm Planet Walk (Ranger Program)

Join a park ranger to walk a scale model of the solar system on the grounds of the memorial. Learn about distant planets and how they relate to each other.

12pm Apollo 11, Final Chapter in the Space Race

National Park Service volunteer, Chris Godart, will present a program called “Apollo 11, Final Chapter in the Space Race.” Explore the events leading up to the historic mission of Apollo 11, and learn how the mission progressed to safely land man on the moon and return to earth.

2pm Ask an Astronaut with NASA Astronaut

NASA Astronaut and Space Shuttle veteran Eric Boe will give a short presentation on his experiences in space and lead a question and answer session with the audience.

3 pm The Wright Stuff (Ranger Program)

Explore the Legacy of the Wright Brothers from Kitty Hawk to Tranquility Base

5pm Meet and Greet with NASA Astronaut Eric Boe (Public Event)

Meet a real-life astronaut, and interact informally.

7pm Special Guest Speakers (Feature Event)

Active NASA astronaut Eric Boe, and a representative from NASA Langley Research Center, will discuss spaceflight, the legacy of the Wright Brothers, and the newest NASA initiatives to return man to the moon and beyond.

8:10pm Walter Cronkite Footage of the Moon Landing (Feature Event)

Rebroadcast of Walter Cronkite’s famous moon landing news coverage will begin just after 8:00 p.m. and conclude around 8:45 p.m.

Additional July 20 details:

  • Visitors should bring beach chairs and flashlights.

  • Visitors are encouraged to dress up as astronauts or in 1960s era costumes.

  • Special activities for kids will be provided by the NPS and NASA Langley Research Center in the Junior Aviator Store.

  • Food trucks will be available at the memorial for guests to purchase food.

  • In the event of rain, the speakers will still present their talks under a tent, as well as the viewing party.  In the event of severe weather, the event will be canceled.


The moon above the First Flight Bounder the evening of July 20, 1969.

Sunday, July 21

10am, 11am, Sand Dunes & Moon Dust (Ranger Program)

12pm, 4pm Learn about the events leading to the first powered flight in 1903 and its
similarities to the Apollo 11 mission.

1pm, 2:30pm The Wright Stuff (Ranger Program)

Explore the Legacy of the Wright Brothers from Kitty Hawk to Tranquility Base.

For more details, visit: https://www.nps.gov/wrbr/planyourvisit/apollo-11-50th.htm.

Wright Brothers National Memorial thanks Outer Banks Forever, First Flight Foundation, and First Flight Society for their support of these special celebration events.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.

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