Moon Landing 50th Anniversary: guide

On July 20 1969 Apollo 11 ‘s Lunar Module anded on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to step onto the surface on July 21.

It was a TV event broadcast Live, seen by 20% of the world’s population, including an estimated 125m – 150m Americans.

50 years on there is a swag of TV specials to commemorate the occasion.

Here’s more astronomy stuff than you can poke a spacestick at:


The Planets, Ep 2
7:40pm Sunday July 14
The Two Sisters – Earth and Mars
Mars is a failed world that long ago had the same potential as Earth, which begs a big question: did life get a start on both worlds? In search of the answer, plans are afoot to take humans to the red planet.

Stargazing: Moon and Beyond
8pm Tuesday July 16
Stargazing returns to celebrate the most iconic moment in space history – the moon landing 50 years ago.

Fly Me to The Moon
9pm Tuesday July 16
Featuring interviews with prominent Australians as they reflect back to 1969, Fly Me To The Moon examines the role played by scientists down under as they helped with the landing and broadcast of this historic occasion.

The Planets, Ep. 3
7:40pm Sunday July 21
Professor Brian Cox continues his exploration of the solar system with a visit to a planet that dwarfs all the others: Jupiter. Its enormous size gives it a great power that it has used to manipulate the other…


Apollo 11: A Step that Changed the World
7pm Saturday July 13
Narrated by Peter Overton and using extensive NASA archival footage including rarely seen film and video, we follow the historic first ever moon landing and look back at this monumental achievement.

Movie: Apollo 13
8pm Saturday July 13


Moon Landing: One Hour That Changed The World
7:30pm Saturday July 20
As far as history is concerned, humans land on the moon and step outside. Neil Armstrong’s is probably the most famous footstep in history. But that’s not how it really happened.

Movie: The Dish
8:30pm Saturday July 20


Chasing the Moon Pt 1
7:30pm Sunday July 14
Chasing the Moon is a landmark documentary series about the space race, from its earliest beginnings to the monumental achievement of the first lunar landing in 1969, fast tracked after its premiere on PBS during the 50th anniversary year of the Apollo 11 moon landing. This exciting new series recasts the Space Age as a fascinating stew of scientific innovation, political calculation, media spectacle, visionary impulses and personal drama, utilising a feast of previously overlooked and lost archival material – much of which has never before been seen by the public.

Mission Control
3:40pm Monday July 15

Chasing the Moon:
Episode Two: Earthrise
Monday, 15 July at 7.30pm
This instalment covers 1964-1968, four heady, dangerous years in the history of the space race, focusing on the events surrounding the Apollo 1 and Apollo 8 missions.

One Last Step: The Honeysuckle Legacy
3:25pm Tuesday July 16

Engineering Space Saturn V
3:40pm Tuesday July 16

Engineering Space Lunar Module
4:30pm Tuesday July 16

Black Hole Hunters
Tuesday, 16 July at 9.30pm
Astronomer Shep Doeleman and his team are on a mission that will challenge the theories of Albert Einstein and could pave the way to a revolution in physics – to capture the first-ever image of a black hole. To do this, they must link eight multimillion-dollar observatories around the world to a spot 26,000 light years away. It’s the equivalent of spotting an orange on the moon. But, after 10 years of planning and the combined brainpower of over 200 international scientists, the team feels they’re ready to make scientific history.

Chasing the Moon
Episode Three: Magnificent Desolation
Tuesday, 16 July at 7.30pm
This final part covers 1969-1970, which takes Americans to the moon and back.

Engineering Space Space Shuttle
3:40pm Wednesday July 17

Engineering Space Space Station
4:30pm Wednesday July 16

Engineering Space Hubble Telescope
3:35pm Thursday July 18

Engineering Space Viking Mars Mission
4:30pm Thursday July 18

Expedition Mars
3:45pm Friday July 19

The Unsung Heroes of Apollo 11
Friday, 19 July at 7.30pm
In October of 1957, the Soviets launched a satellite into space, Sputnik. The United States, embroiled in a Cold War with the USSR, went into a tailspin. That 185 pound satellite was the impetus for the creation of the most successful space agency ever, NASA.

Neil Armstrong: First Man on the Moon
4:20pm Saturday July 20



Battle for the Moon: From Sputnik to Apollo
Part 2 Tuesday July 16 at 7.30pm
Australian Premiere
This full archive two-part documentary revisits the space race from the launch of the first Soviet Sputnik in 1957 to the American triumph of the Apollo 11 in 1969.

Apollo’s Daring Mission
Thursday July 11 at 7.30pm
Australian Premiere
We tell the in-depth story of Apollo’s riskiest mission – Apollo 8: a sixteen-week race to beat the Soviets and send three men in a tiny space capsule to, around and back from a moon a quarter of a million miles away all before 1968 came to a close.

Moon Landing: World’s Greatest Hoax?
Thursday July 11 at 9.30pm
Australian Premiere
Featuring interviews with leading experts, conspiracy theorists, archive material and highly detailed reconstructions of the landing, we put this debate to bed once and for all.

When We Were Apollo
Thursday July 18 at 7.30pm
Australian Premiere
An intimate and personal look at the Apollo Space Program through the lives and experiences of some of its most inspiring behind-the-scenes figures: engineers, technicians, builders and contractors who spent the better part of a decade working to get us to the moon and back.

The Moon Landing and The Nazis
Thursday July 18 at 9.30pm
Australian Premiere
The fact that Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon was also the success of Wernher von Braun and a team of more than 100 NASA technicians and engineers from Germany. But the success story is shrouded in dark shadows – many of the Germans had a Nazi past and were part of the development of the infamous V2 rocket.

Moon Landing: The Lost Tapes
Saturday July 20 at 7.30pm
Australian Premiere
This one hour special mines previously unexplored primary source material: audio interviews with astronauts and engineers locked away in NASA’s vaults, camera reels featuring lunar footage thought to be lost for a generation, and home movies that have gathered dust for decades. By relying on never before seen footage to tell surprising never before heard stories, this documentary takes viewers deep inside man’s voyage to the moon.

National Geographic:

Apollo: Mission to the Moon
National Geographic
Monday July 15 at 8.30pm
Australian Premiere
Epic two-hour feature documentary showcasing never-before-heard mission recordings, newly transferred footage and rare photographs of all 12 crewed missions to tell the complete story of NASA’s historic Apollo Space program.

The Armstrong Tapes
National Geographic
Watch Tuesday July 16 at 9.30pm
Australian Premiere
This one-hour documentary provides a personal and in-depth look at Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon. Armstrong’s sole authorised biographer, family members and colleagues sit down with National Geographic to reveal an intimate look at one of the world’s greatest and least known heroes.

Apollo: Back to the Moon
National Geographic
Wednesday July 17 at 8.30pm
Australian Premiere
National Geographic re-examines the Apollo 11 mission with a fresh perspective, driven by the production processes and techniques which have, much like space itself, evolved rapidly.

Apollo 8: The Mission that Changed the World
National Geographic
Watch Thursday July 18 at 8.30pm
Australian Premiere
Featuring a new and exclusive interview with Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, who took the historic Earthrise photograph, this stunning archive-driven one-hour documentary tells the incredible story of Apollo 8 and the environmental campaign that followed.

Rookie Moonshot: Budget Mission to the Moon
National Geographic
Thursday July 18 at 9.30pm
Australian Premiere
The story of SpaceIL, a small company with a dream to develop the first ever private spacecraft to attempt a moon landing.

Discovery Science:

Apollo: The Forgotten Films
Discovery Science and simulcast on Discovery
Sunday July 21 at 8.30pm
Australian Premiere
This two-hour special event features exclusive, never-before-seen footage of the untold story of the famous Apollo 11 mission in provided by NASA by only using the archival footage of the time and transporting viewers back to a time of hope, fear, and ultimately triumph.

Confessions from Space
Discovery Science
Sunday July 28 at 8.30pm
Australian Premiere
This intimate hour-long special documents the 115th Annual Explorers Club Dinner, which will host 10 Apollo astronauts and Michael Collins. Secrets will be revealed, as these brave explorers speak candidly about the 50-year celebration of the famous moon landing and give insight to the technology we use daily, the new frontier of privatised space flight, and what this means for the future.

Additional programming as part of the Moon Month on Foxtel:

The Apollo Experience
Saturday July 13 and July 20 at 12.30am

Explorer: Journey to Europa
National Geographic
Friday July 19 at 8.30pm

Mission to Saturn: Inside the Rings and Beyond
National Geographic
Friday July 19 at 9.30pm

Genius – Space Race – U.S.A Vs U.S.S.R
Friday July 19 at 9.30pm

Is Anybody Out There?
Saturday July 20 at 1.30am

The Sky Is Not The Limit: The Chris Hadfield Story
Saturday July 20 at 3.30pm

Apollo 17: The Untold Story Of The Last Men On The Moon
Saturday July 20 at 8.30pm

Beyond A Year In Space
Saturday July 20 at 9.30pm

The V2 Nazi Rocket
Saturday July 20 at 10.30pm

The Last Man On The Moon
Saturday July 21 at 9.30pm


  1. Not one person here has actually retold what they were doing when Armstrong first stepped on the moon. Where were you when you watched it on TV? In the school room? Outside a store front? Were you at home?

  2. Love that they where able to beam live footage from the moon but can barely get a stable satellite cross during a live news broadcast lol.

  3. “Capricorn One” anyone? Then there’s “Chariots of the Gods?” which Nine scheduled some years ago, pulled at the last minute due to a major news event and never played. Fortunately our local library has a rare DVD.

  4. I just watched the movie ‘First Man’ which I would recommend for anyone interested in space travel, the noisy claustrophobic confines and sense of trusting in fate during lift-off is well shown, these men were the right stuff to achieve what they did. These well made action scenes makes the erratic direction of the rest of movie a bit more bearable. This would be a good movie to sneak in somewhere if it wasn’t so recent.

  5. I would love to see programming on ancient astronomical research about the stars, as well as some of the pseudo-scientific research about the universe and the solar system, such as astrology and cultural mythical beliefs about the sky. I did see a good program on NITV not long ago about Indigenous Australian interpretation of the night sky and stars and the names they gave for different stars.

    But I understand that there will be more focus on the Apollo 11 mission in the anniversary programming.

  6. Gee it’s interesting to see that 9 or 7 couldn’t give a toss, maybe they think the whole thing never happened- all one big conspiracy

  7. 50 years later and yet not even close to walking on it again yet alone inhabiting the moon. As a boy l thought we would have colonised it after the year 2000. One wonders when might we??

      • Six missions landed men on the Moon, beginning with Apollo 11 in July 1969, during which Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon. Apollo 13 was intended to land, however it was restricted to a flyby due to a malfunction aboard the spacecraft. All nine manned missions returned safely to the Earth.

    • One has to have a good reason to colonise such a deeply inhospitable place-immensely expensive and dangerous to do-if you want to explore space, sending robot craft is far cheaper and easier and only getting more so as the years go by. I do remember well being packed into the primary school library as an 8 yr old to watch it as a very grainy B&W picture on a not very big TV!

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