Apollo 11 50th Anniversary coins
The Apollo 11 mission’s success is deemed one of mankind’s most marvelous victories. After failures of the first few missions, NASA took the next few for practice and data gathering. The 11th mission culminated in men walking on the moon and their return home safely too. It was achieved just eight years after President John F Kennedy proclaimed famously in 1961, “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth….”.
Though he never lived to see it unfold, Apollo 11 mission kept JFK’s dream alive and achieved the seemingly impossible
The Apollo 11 space program
The cold war initiated a space race that was beyond fierce between U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. When U.S.S.R put up the first satellite Sputnik 1 and then later the first man in space, the U.S. was understandably not happy. It showed that there was a lot of catching up to do in terms of space technology understanding. Part of the issue was the frenzy created by media in exaggerating the might of the Russian capability to use similar launching vehicles for intercontinental missiles. The outcome of all this was an increased spending in defense and education; establishment of NASA; launching the Explorer, the first U.S. satellite into space and ‘Project Apollo’.
NASA’s third human spaceflight program was named ‘Project Apollo’. The preceding ‘Project Mercury’ was helpful in putting the first American in space and ‘Project Gemini’ was a two-man program created for extending spaceflight capability for Apollo. Project Apollo had its share of tragedies. Apollo 1 program ended in disaster when the entire crew was killed in a cabin fire during a pre-launch test. The later programs helped in testing various modules of the spacecraft that they were going to use in the final spacecraft to moon.
Apollo’s spacecraft consisted of three modules; the control module, the lunar module and the service module. The lunar module had two stages, one descent stage for descending to the moon and the ascent stage for ascending from the moon. All the modules could be launched by a single rocket called the Saturn V. The crew was made up of men who would become famous for all eternity; Neil A. Armstrong, the commander, Michael Collins, the command module pilot and Edwin ‘Buzz’ E. Aldrin Jr. the lunar module pilot. Ideally the lunar pilot would have been the logical choice for stepping on lunar soil first. But the Chief of the Astronaut Office of NASA, Donald Kent Slayton along with his team decided that Armstrong should walk the moon first as he was calmer, and quieter compared to Aldrin. United States of America is the only country that successfully sent 9 more astronauts to the Moon and brought them back safely. This feat secured America’s leadership quite firmly ahead in the space race and led to technological advancements in space, defense and aviation.
2019 Apollo 11 50th Anniversary coins
To celebrate the 50th year of the first landing of men in the Moon, Congress authorized a four-coin program; a curved $5 gold coin, a curved $1 silver coin, a curved half-dollar clad coin, and a curved 5- ounce $1 silver proof coin.
The obverse design features the inscriptions “MERCURY,” “GEMINI,” and “APOLLO,” separated by phases of the Moon, and a footprint on the lunar surface, which together represent the efforts of the United States space program leading up to the first manned Moon landing. Additional inscriptions include “2019,” “IN GOD WE TRUST,” and “LIBERTY.”
The reverse design features a representation of a close-up of the famous “Buzz Aldrin on the Moon” photograph taken July 20, 1969, that shows just the visor and part of the helmet of astronaut Buzz Aldrin. The reflection in Buzz Aldrin’s helmet includes astronaut Neil Armstrong, the United States flag, and the lunar lander. Inscriptions include “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” “ONE DOLLAR,” and “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”