Fifty years ago, a Saturn V rocket carrying the Apollo 11 mission modules, loaded with some of the most advanced technology the world had ever seen, rolled out to the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 launched using a Saturn V rocket on a trip to the moon. On 20 July that same year, an estimated 650 million people watched Armstrong’s televised image and heard his voice describe the event as he took “… one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”…
For many, the moon landing was the most spectacular event of the century. It was the result of decades of research by engineers, scientists and technologists in many countries, including Britain’s William Congreve, Russia’s Sergei Korosec and Germany’s Wernher von Braun.
Many Apollo-era innovations are now mainstream, including cordless gadgets, scratch-resistant lenses, memory foam and liquid-cooled garments for race drivers and firefighters. Apollo also pioneered the laser as an instrument to measure the actual distance between the moon and the earth. Lasers are now integral in carbon fibre communication cables, colour printers and missile guidance systems. Whilst the use of high-energy lasers for military use is still experimental, industrial cutting lasers are becoming increasingly commonplace.