“Celebrate the past. Inspire the future.”

When it came time to deciding just how the Rocket City should appropriately celebrate the golden anniversary of Apollo 11 taking man to the moon, the answer was simple: let the world know Huntsville was the Rocket City 50 years ago, it continues to be today and in the decades to come.

“We want to explore the past, the current status of exploration, and where is this next generation going,” said Joe Vallely, vice president of external affairs for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center. “We’ve tried to be true to what our mission here at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center is, to exhibit and show what we have, and to inspire those young minds along the way.”

Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle appointed Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO of the Space & Rocket Center, as chair of Huntsville’s commemorative events, which have been a collaboration of government, community organizations, arts and entertainment entities, education, churches and more.

While technically the celebration will include more than 100 events over the course of about a year, the real fun kicks off July 13, as the Tennessee Valley community commemorates the 50th anniversary of mission week, the launch of the Saturn V and the moon landing. The family of Wernher von Braun will serve as honorary chairs of the celebration.

Mission Week events

All events are at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, One Tranquility Base, Huntsville, unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, July 13

Celebration Car Show

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cars of the Apollo era will be highlighted in addition to those that have a space history.

Tuesday, July 16 – Launch Day

Guinness Book of World Record attempts 

Launch of 5,000 model rockets

8:32 a.m.

Apollo 11 Homecoming Celebration Dinner and Program 

Sold out

Friday, July 19

Dancing in the Streets

Downtown Huntsville

100 Northside Square, Huntsville

5 to 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 20 – 50th anniversary of the moon landing

Rocket City Summer Fest featuring “The Party of the Year”

Gates open at 6 p.m., concert is at 7, concluding with fireworks lit from the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

General admission: $20; food and beverages available for purchase.

For a complete listing of events, visit


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