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Relive Apollo 11 Moon landing with two AR apps to celebrate 50th anniversary

If you’ve ever wished you could have experienced the Apollo 11 Moon landing, two upcoming augmented reality apps will give you the next best thing.

USA Today, Florida Today, and The Smithsonian Institution are partnering on a real-time AR experience that will allow you to view each aspect of the mission, from lift-off to Moon landing. The experience has been created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic achievement …

USA TODAY and FLORIDA TODAY partner to bring audiences two new interactives, incorporating live stream video of historic broadcasts; Will include pop-up event with The Smithsonian Institution on July 20th during live broadcast […]

Users will get to view the mission in real-time just as it happened 50 years ago. USA TODAY’s emerging technology team created the virtual assets and media is sourced from NASA for the app update featuring the Apollo 11 mission.

The 321 Launch app already allows users to enjoy real-time launch experiences of today’s space flights.

During a live launch, watch an AR rocket liftoff from any flat surface, as an animated hologram shows you what the actual rocket is doing in real-time. Telemetry data generates a predictive flight-path allowing you to follow the speed, acceleration, and altitude of an active launch live in AR, simply by pointing your phone towards the sky. Tap for live video coverage of the launch and follow live commentary as you watch from anywhere in the world.

From July 16, it will offer the same experience of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, exactly as if it were happening today.

You’ll be able to get in the spirit of things before then, however. Some AR content will be available in the app from July 4, and the USA Today app will bring you up to speed on everything you need to know ahead of the mission itself, starting on July 9.

An AR interactive will be featured in the USA TODAY mobile app telling the story of the hardware and technology that was used by NASA for the Apollo 11 mission. Narrated by FLORIDA TODAY, users will learn about every stage of the Saturn V launch sequence, details of the command and lunar modules, and see how it all came together to take three astronauts to the moon.

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum is also getting in on the act, as you’d expect.

The Smithsonian’s celebration on July 16-20 includes Neil Armstrong’s iconic Apollo 11 spacesuit, back on display at the museum for the first time in 13 years starting July 16; Discover the Moon Day! on July 19; and a three-day celebration on the National Mall that will culminate with activities commemorating the exact moment the first steps were taken on the Moon on July 20. Learn more at

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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