Buzz Aldrin on Moon with experiment Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the surface and the Lunar Module “Eagle” during the Apollo 11 extravehicular activity. Photo credit: NASA

Sunday marks the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and San Diego’s Air & Space Museum has an Apollo spaceship and moon rocks on display.

The museum, in the center of Balboa Park, also shows an animated film that recreates a trip from the earth to the moon.

The Apollo 11 lunar module landed astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon at 1:18 p.m. San Diego time on Sunday, July 20, 1969. Armstrong stepped onto the moon about six hours later and proclaimed, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” a statement broadcast live worldwide.

In San Diego, an Apollo space capsule that had made an early test trip is on display at the Balboa Park museum. Going by the radio call sign “Gumdrop,” Apollo 9 carried astronauts James MacDivitt, David Scott and Rusty Schweikart on earth orbits where rocket tests on a lunar lander module were performed in the vacuum of space for the first time.

“Visitors can see how three grown astronauts were all hunkered down in there,” said Jeff Burke, Air & Space Museum spokesman about the cramped module.

With its scorched heat shield protected now by a plastic protector, the Apollo 9 command module can be seen on display daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the lobby.

The Air & Space Museum has regular viewings of “Fly Me To The Moon,” an animated feature which allows guests to “sneak” aboard Apollo 11 an experience a simulated space flight.

During their historic 1969 flight, Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin stayed about 21-1/2 hours on the moon before lifting off to dock their lunar module with the command module, piloted by Michael Collins.

The astronaut team returned to the Earth and parachuted into the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969.

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— City News Service

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