• Apollo 11 moon landing: Astronaut returns to launch pad

    By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -

    Fifty years to the day, one of the men who were brave enough to leave the shackles of Earth and blast off to the moon returned to the same spot where they made history 50 years ago today.

    Michael Collins, one of the two remaining Apollo 11 astronauts, will return to Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39A to remember the moment the Saturn V rocket launched on the trip from the Earth to the moon at 9:32 a.m., July 16, 1969, The Associated Press reported.

    Buzz Aldrin was expected to attend but canceled, the AP reported.

    "[It's] wonderful being back. There's a difference this time. I want to turn and ask Neil a question and maybe tell Buzz Aldrin something, and of course, I'm here by myself," Collins said on NASA TV, according to the AP.

    Collins was the command module pilot and stayed back on Columbia as Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon on July 20, 1969.

    Armstrong, who was the mission commander and took the first step on the moon died in 2012.

    The event marks the beginning of a week-long celebration of the Apollo 11 historic mission.

    It isn't the only commemoration of the historic day. 

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    Model rockets, 5,000 in all, will launch at the same time at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum will also unveil Neil Armstrong's newly-restored spacesuit, the AP reported.

    You can follow the launch events, moment-by-moment on Twitter as Apollo 50th live tweets

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