(CBS NEWSPATH) – It was a half-century ago today, three American astronauts took one giant leap for mankind, launching on a trip to the moon. The Apollo 11 mission is considered one of the greatest achievements in space travel and today, the Kennedy Space Center remembered the milestone.

At the Kennedy Space Center Tuesday morning visitors at launch pad
39-a  cheered at the precise moment Apollo 11 blasted off for the moon 50 years ago.

On July 16, 1969, a Saturn 5 rocket carried three astronauts Neil
Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on the 225,000-mile journey.
Walter Cronkite anchored CBS news coverage. it was the beginning of a historic mission that many consider one of mankind’s
greatest accomplishments. Collins looked back at the launch of the most
powerful rocket ever built, “inside you are not worried about the power so much as you are your steering.”

Four days later, the lunar module touched down and Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon. Astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin left behind an American flag and a plaque that said in part “we came in peace for all mankind.”

NASA has set its sights on returning to the moon. The project faces cost
overruns and schedule delays but the goal is the have another man or woman walking on the moon by the year 2024.