Thousands gather at U.S. Space and Rocket Center for world record attempt

Just as they did 50 years ago at the Kennedy Space Center, eager rocket watchers squinted into the morning sun to watch.

Posted: Jul 16, 2019 7:19 PM
Updated: Jul 19, 2019 10:32 PM

After months of careful preparation, hundreds of dedicated volunteers and thousands of spectators gathered at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center on Tuesday to witness history.

On this historic date, 50 years ago, Apollo 11 blasted off. At 8:32 a.m. on Tuesday, the U.S. Space and Rocket Center marked the occasion, attempting to launch 5,000 paper and plastic rockets simultaneously, hoping to break the old record of 4,231 rockets.

Velvet Hildebrand and her girls wouldn’t have missed it.

“We heard about it probably about a month ago on Facebook, and you had to be here. We had to be here. It looked like an interesting experience for my girls, something we can’t do in Atlanta,” said Velvet Hildebrand, who watched the record attempt.

Fifty flats of 100 rockets each were spread out over a field. Cameras were tethered to balloons to make sure the rockets made it to the Guinness World Record's required 100 feet. The person to flick the switch was 12-year-old Lillian Duran.

“Pretty cool honor. Yeah, I’m excited,” she said.

Duran is a five-time space camper. She had help on Tuesday from Marshall Space Flight Center's director, Jody Singer, and Astronaut Al Worden.

Just as they did 50 years ago at the Kennedy Space Center, eager rocket watchers squinted into the morning sun to watch. It didn’t disappoint.

The Hildebrand family said it was well worth the drive from Georgia.

“Just the magnitude of it was exactly what I wanted to see,” Velvet Hildebrand said. 

You can watch video of Tuesday's Global Rocket Launch here. Check out more of our Apollo 11 50th anniversary stories here. To watch our Apollo 11 specials, click here and here.

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