On July 20th, 1969, the world stood still as astronauts Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins, and Buzz Aldrin prepared to achieve what was then the pinnacle of human exploration - a crewed landing on the surface of the Moon. Over 530 million people around the world watched Armstrong and Aldrin guide the Lunar Module Eagle to a soft landing and take humanity's first steps onto another world.
The landing of Apollo 11 was, for most Americans, the climax of NASA's early space program, but the Apollo program as a whole - like the Mercury and Gemini programs which preceded it - represent something far greater and far deeper than a politically-motivated quest for prestige and power. With the famous report that "The Eagle has Landed", the world as we know it changed forever.
Achieving an impossibly ambitious goal and putting astronauts onto the Moon's surface was a testament not just to America but to humanity - to our tenacity, our ambition, and to the incredible feats we can accomplish when we work together for a common purpose. In short, the Apollo program represents much of the best of who we are as a civilization.
With the 50th anniversary of Eagle's famous landing, we aim to rekindle a glimmer of that pioneering spirit in the next generation of explorers. By designing, testing, and launching a scientific high-altitude balloon payload, we will commemorate the achivement of the bold achievements of the over 400,000 people employed by the space program in the 1960s while introducing current high school students to the challenges of real-world engineering tasks.