21/07/2019 02:12:19

3,000 People Join Together to Countdown the Lunar Descent for Apollo's 50th Anniversary at the Cradle of Aviation Museum


GARDEN CITY, NY - July 20, 2019 Over 3,000 people joined together at the Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center on July 20, 2019 from 9:30am – 5:00pm to jointly celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 at a Moon Festival with family and friends. The celebration comprised of all day activities geared for families including Meet and Greets with Shuttle Astronauts Bill Shepherd, Charlie Camarda, and Bob Cenker,  Moon Buggy Races, STEM Activities, Rocket Launches Robotic Demonstrations, a Free Showing of the critically acclaimed, Apollo 11: First Steps IMAX Edition, Virtual Reality Moon Walks with Microsoft, a visit to a recreated 1969 living room playing original moon footage, photos with the NY Avengers, and tours of the Apollo Space Exhibit which has the largest collection of Lunar Modules, Lunar Module parts, artifacts, images and documentation.  The “crowned jewel” of the exhibit, a real Lunar Module (LM-13) ready to use for Apollo 19 (but ultimately cancelled)  in a lunar setting was the highlight of tours. The events culminated in a re-enactment of the Lunar Module descent on the moon at exactly 4:17pm in the museum’s atrium to coincide with the time of the original lunar landing. A packed house cheered, waving American flags, and concurrently watching original footage of communication between the Lunar Module crew (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin) and Mission Control,  as the NASA 1/3 Scale Model Lunar Module landed on a recreated lunar surface.

 “Today was the culmination of over a year of events to celebrate the most important event in history. Over 3,000 people joined together to recreate the Lunar Module landing at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, said Andrew Parton, President of the Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center.  

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, Suffolk County Executive, Steve Bellone, and NYS Senator, Kevin Thomas attended the event and were on hand for the lunar descent. Other attendees including cross-generational families (locally and out of state), who had family members who worked for Grumman. The children of Grumman employees wanted to honor their parent’s contributions while sharing it with their own children to understand the impact of their grandparents’ contributions.  And there was certainly something for everyone. The DeFrancesco Family from Oceanside, New York enjoyed may aspects of the day’s events. Dad Mark DeFrancesco said,  “I’m an Air Force Veteran and certainly wanted to come see some of the guys today who inspired me to enlist years ago” referring to the Shuttle Astronauts.  Mom Ellen DeFrancesco said it was incredibly special to attend as she wanted her daughters to understand the important role that Long Islanders played in this historic event.  Her daughter Chloe (12) added that she loved taking photos with the NY Avengers, a charity cosplay group. And daughter, Emma (14) shared,   she liked the story of Apollo and its different sides of history, “I’m a history buff so that’s always fun for me but also to see how far we have come in science and math.” They also enjoyed the interactive nature of the museum, that they could sit in and touch and experience the exhibits.

 The Cradle of Aviation Museum and Education Center is home to over 75 planes and spacecraft representing over 100 years of aviation history and Long Island’s only Giant Screen Dome Theater.  Currently, the museum is celebrating  “Countdown to Apollo at 50” sponsored by the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation, showcasing Long Island and Grumman’s significant role in the Apollo program. The Museum was recently recognized and listed on New York State’s National Register of Historic Places as a significant part of American history. The museum is located on Museum Row, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., in East Garden City.  For more information call (516) 572-4111 or visit www.cradleofaviation.org.  


Frances Cuomo Perpero

Cradle of Aviation Museum



Thousands cheer with American flags as a 1/3 Scale NASA Lunar Module model descends and lands exactly at 4:17 pm from the atrium at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, NY


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