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24 rockets were launched at 9:32am Tuesday – the exact time of the Apollo 11 launch 50 years ago. (Kristine Allen/WPSU)

(State College) — On Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium at Penn State invited the public to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch. They held a rocket launch event at the Ag Progress Days sight in Pennsylvania Furnace.

With a drone buzzing overhead to film the event, they launched 24 model rockets at 9:32am – the exact time of the Apollo launch 50 years ago.

People of all ages gathered at the Ag Progress Days site in Pleasant Gap for the event. Young kids like Solveig Bilen  decorated toy rockets to launch.  She sat at a table, coloring her white rocket with magic marker.

“I’m putting red and orange and pink on,” Bilen said.


The Penn State Lunar Lion table at the event, with Ravi Patel, second from the right. (Kristine Allen/WPSU)

And there were information tables from groups like Penn State Lunar Lion, a student club that designs vehicles for lunar exploration.

Robbie Patel is president of Lunar Lion.  Although he and his fellow club members weren’t around in the Apollo era, he says they’re excited about the anniversary.  

“We all love NASA,” Patel said.  “We love everything about space.  We appreciate everything the program has done for humanity, and we’re just glad to be a part of it.”     

This launch event is one of several Apollo events sponsored by Penn State, including a screening of the documentary, “Apollo 11” on Saturday, July 20 at the State Theatre, with a talk by astronaut and Penn State professor James Pawelczyk.

You’ll find more information about Penn State’s Apollo event at the State Theatre here.