JFK Library Revisits First Lunar Landing

NEW YORK Apollo 11’s 1969 four-day journey to the moon will be re-created for online audiences this Thursday at the commemorative WeChooseTheMoon.org Web site from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum.

Developed by IPG unit The Martin Agency with Domani Studios, the AOL-powered venue will go live on July 16, 2009 at 9:32 a.m., exactly 40 years after the historic mission began. Viewers will be able watch a virtual re-creation of the launch from Cape Canaveral and experience the minute-by-minute voyage with archival video, photos and streaming audio of the conversations between the spacecraft and the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

“When President Kennedy challenged the nation to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth before the end of the decade, his appeal led to one of the greatest technological achievements in U.S. history,” said Tom Putnam, director of the JFK Library in Boston. “WeChooseTheMoon.org will use today’s technology to bring President Kennedy’s vision to life, re-creating the historic 1969 Apollo 11 mission and providing a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the adventure as it happened 40 years ago.”

To re-create the flight, the site, showcasing 11 mission-critical animated events, incorporates 400 NASA photographs, 44 archival videos, almost 110 hours of Apollo 11 audio transmissions and more than 102 hours of tracking data.

“The undertaking is pretty massive. We’re joking a lot about how sending millions [of people] to the moon in cyberspace in 2009 is going to end up taking just as much time as sending three guys to the moon in 1969,” said Joe Alexander, creative director at Martin in Richmond, Va. “But truly, we feel honored to be doing it. There’s a real sense of purpose, living up to JFK’s idea that the space race would bring out the best in us. So there’s a little pressure, which is good.”

To extend the user experience, AOL has integrated related content and interactive tools at news.aol.com and its kids’ venue, kids.aol.com/KOL. Also, the social media network Bebo will feature an interactive moon profile where users can share their experiences about the countdown and live event.

The conversations between the two mission spacecraft and the flight controllers back in Houston can be followed on three Twitter feeds: @AP11_Spacecraft (Apollo 11 to Houston control);  @AP11_Capcom (Houston to Apollo 11); and  @ AP11_Eagle (Eagle moon lander to Houston control and Columbia mothership).