May 9, 2022 | Emily Pietrzyk

Apollo to Artemis | The 50th Anniversary of Apollo 16

What a night! After two years of COVID and hitting pause on different engagements, the U.S. Space & Rocket
Center hosted its first internal event: Apollo to Artemis | The 50th Anniversary of Apollo 16. This event that was held on April 20th,
allowed us to not only reflect on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 16 and all the incredible
accomplishments that it had, but also look ahead with excitement at the Artemis Program! The evening
was filled with joy as just under 400 guests wore their black-tie-optional attire and celebrated together in the Davidson Center
under the Saturn V.

Special guest speakers included Director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center: Jody Singer, Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development:  James Free and Apollo 16 Astronaut:
Charlie Duke.


The Man of the Hour

Charlie Duke made his grand entrance on our custom Polaris Rover that resembles the one he rode on
the moon. As he spoke to the audience, he shared inspirational words on his experience 50 years ago next to the
“Casper” Capsule that took him took him and his crew mates to the moon and returned them safely to


Brig Gen, USAF, Ret. Duke on the Polaris Rover


Mr. Duke concluded his speech with a quote from Dr. Seuss: “In the places I go there are things that I
see. That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z. I’m telling you this ’cause you’re one of my
friends. My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!“ He explained that this quote
reminded him of the space program: When one space program ends, another one begins. It is
our role to continue to inspire the next generation to keep exploring.


Plans for Future Exploration

Jody Singer and James Free spoke on our exciting goals, as we begin to look ahead and prepare
to return to the moon through the Artemis Program. She shared an update on the SLS Rocket
and how it is now preparing for its wet launch. Mr. Free spoke on the mission updates and the
expected timeframes for each of the mission objectives of the program.


Jody Singer, Director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

James Free, Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Development


As the evening came to a close, there was a sense of gratitude, joy, and pure inspiration from
each guest in attendance. The impact of Apollo will forever be an inspiration for generations to
come. We look forward to looking back 50 years from now on not only the accomplishments of
Apollo, but also celebrating the victories of the Artemis Program.

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Emily Pietrzyk is the Donor Relations Officer for the Education Foundation at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

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