By Anna Meiler

DORCHESTER (CBS) — Dozens of people gathered outside the John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester Tuesday morning for an augmented reality experience to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 mission.

Attendees downloaded the “JFK Moonshot” app and pointed their phones to the sky. A virtual, 363-foot Saturn V rocket appeared. It blasted off at 9:32 a.m. to mark the exact minute the Apollo 11 mission launched 50 years ago.

“50 years, it doesn’t seem quite possible, right?” said spectator Richard Almeida. He was in high school on that day, July 16, 1969, when three astronauts set off into the unknown. Days later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took man’s first steps on the moon.

Almeida brought his grandkids to see the virtual launch. “It is emotional and I love sharing it with my grandchildren,” he said.

Now, people can continue to use the app to track the rocket’s 120-hour journey to the moon in real-time.

The John F. Kennedy Library celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch with an augmented reality simulation (WBZ-TV)

“Minute by minute you can listen to the actual conversations from NASA that have been downloaded, what the astronauts are saying,” said Steven Rothstein, executive director of the JFK Library.

The app also includes famous speeches by John F Kennedy who inspired the Apollo 11 mission.

“We want people to be reminded of that bold leadership and to think about how far we’ve come and to think about their new ideas,” said Rothstein.

“We hope in seeing this they realize we can do pretty much anything as humans when we work together,” said Sue DeSilva, the Executive Creative Director at Digitas, which created the app.

Almeida said he hopes his grandson left the event today feeling inspired.

“I hope he enjoys this part of history,” said Almeida. “And that he has an interest in it going forward in his life.”

The JFK Library is hosting a Space Fest on Saturday to mark 50 years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

Anna Meiler


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