Celebrating the Apollo 11 moon landing with the 2019 People’s Choice Award winner
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Celebrating the Apollo 11 moon landing with the 2019 People’s Choice Award winner

July 19, 2019 | Updated on July 1, 2021

Amid the many celebrations and retrospectives this week on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar mission, the Partnership yesterday announced the winner the 2019 Service to America Medals People’s Choice Award. With the honor going to NASA’s Robert Cabana and the Kennedy Space Center Senior Management Team, the timing couldn’t have been better.  

“The [John F.] Kennedy Space Center is in the forefront of American minds this week,” said Janet Petro, the center’s deputy director, in accepting the award. People throughout the country are reminiscing about the historic event on July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon, and Petro talked about the future of space exploration.   

“Kennedy Space Center has a rich history, and thanks to our entire senior management team, we are rich in future opportunities to expand America’s role in space,” she said. 

That wasn’t always certain. When NASA ended the 30-year-old space shuttle program in 2011, the future of the famed Florida center was in grave doubt.  

But the leadership and management skills of Center Director Robert Cabana and his team led to the revitalization of the historic space center. It has been transformed into a globally distinguished, multiuser launch site for government and commercial space exploration, and is helping preserve our country’s leadership in this important field. 

NASA is looking forward to the next accomplishments in space, Petro said.  

“Just as Apollo captured the world’s attention and demonstrated the power of America’s vision and technology 50 years ago, NASA will again capture America’s attention when we return the first woman and next man to the moon in the next five years,” Petro said.  

“This return will be with government, industry and international partners, in a global effort to build and test the systems needed for challenging missions to Mars and beyond.” 

Winning the people’s choice award offers further motivation, Petro added. 

“This recognition as the people’s choice inspires us to continue to be proactive as the world’s preeminent multiuser spaceport supporting government and commercial operations.”   

In other Apollo news this week:   

“Man on the Moon:” The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing: CBS News walks through the history of the Apollo mission and Walter Cronkite’s dramatic account of the moon landing watched by millions.  

8 of the surviving Apollo astronauts got together for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and Buzz Aldrin’s outfit stole the show: Astronauts recount their experiences during Apollo missions.  

They were at Mission Control during Apollo 11. 50 years later, the memory still moves them to tears: Staff at NASA’s Mission Control share their experiences inside the control room the day of the moon landing, and the long road it took to get there.  

NASA Mission Control restored to the way it looked in 1969 for new museum: NBC News takes viewers through the completely restored Apollo Mission Control with NASA Flight Director Gene Granz.