Campus Life

Penn State celebrates Apollo 11 anniversary with rocket launch, family event

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — NASA took “one giant leap” 50 years ago with the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first astronauts on the moon. To celebrate the anniversary of the mission’s launch, on Tuesday, July 16, Penn State will support an attempt by the U.S. Space and Rocket Center to break the Guinness World Record for most model rockets launched simultaneously. Penn State's event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ag Progress Days site, Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center in Ferguson Township, nine miles southwest of State College on state Route 45.

The Apollo 11 Saturn V rocket took off on July 16, 1969. The mission landed the first astronauts on the moon. Credit: NASAAll Rights Reserved.

Twenty-four rockets will blast off at 9:32 a.m., and then beginning at 10:30 a.m. members of the community will have an opportunity to launch their own model rockets. The first 50 children between the ages of 7-13 to sign in will receive a rocket kit to assemble and launch under supervision. There will also be 3D-printed rockets for younger children to decorate.

The Pasto Agricultural Museum will feature a special “Food on the Go” program with hands-on activities from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program will focus on the history of food and travel, from Viking explorers to Oregon Trail settlers to astronauts. Visitors will have an opportunity to identify menus on a food timeline and sample freeze-dried astronaut food.

Additional activities include space-themed entertainment and STEM exhibits and demonstrations.

Departments in the colleges of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Engineering, and Agricultural Sciences, and the NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium, are coordinating the family event to highlight the importance of the Apollo 11 anniversary and STEM education. For more information about this and other Apollo 11 50th anniversary events, visit

Last Updated July 02, 2019