A Saturn V liftoff is spectacular, and the launch of Apollo 11 was no exception. But it didn’t give the audience any surprises. To the three Gemini-experienced pilots, who likened the sensation to the boost of a Titan II, it was a normal launch.
On July 16th 1969, nearly a million people crowded the Florida highways, byways, and beaches to watch man’s departure from the earth to walk on the moon. Twenty thousand guests looked on from special vantage points.
In addition to the ordinary taxpayers who gathered on the beaches and roads of eastern Florida, 20,000 VIPs were invited by NASA to watch the lift off from viewing stands near the Vehicle Assembly Building.
In addition to the fixed-base lunar module simulators in Houston and at the Cape, astronauts also practiced at Langley Research Center on the suspended lunar landing trainer which was equipped with realistic surface views and lighting.