Apollo 11 astronaut returns to launch pad 50 years on from moon heroics

Michael Collins marked the precise moment – 9.32am on July 16 1969 – that the Saturn V rocket departed on humanity's first moon landing.

Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins has returned to the exact spot where he and two other astronauts flew to the moon 50 years ago.

At Nasa’s invitation, Mr Collins spent the golden anniversary on Tuesday morning at Kennedy Space Centre’s Launch Complex 39A in Florida.

He marked the precise moment – 9.32am on July 16 1969 – that their Saturn V rocket departed on humanity’s first moon landing.

Buzz Aldrin was an unexplained no-show.

Buzz Aldrin
Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon (Neil Armstrong/Nasa via AP)

Mission commander Neil Armstrong – who took the first lunar footsteps – died in 2012.

Mr Collins said he wishes Mr Aldrin and Mr Armstrong could have shared the moment at the pad.

Apollo 11 timeline
(PA Graphics)

The 88-year-old astronaut was interviewed live on Nasa TV.

The event kicks off a week of celebrations marking each day of Apollo 11’s eight-day voyage.

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