Washington Monument rocket projection celebrates 50th anniversary of moon launch

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The nation will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 starting on Tuesday -- but D.C. got a sneak preview of what's in store to celebrate the beginning of the historic trip to the moon.

FOX 5 cameras captured an impressive rehearsal along the National Mall early Monday morning when an image of a full-sized, 363-foot Saturn V rocket was projected onto the Washington Monument.

For three nights, July 16, 17 and 18 -- the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum will project the rocket's image onto the east face of the monument from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. On Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20, a special 17-minute show, "Apollo 50: Go for the Moon" will combine full-motion projection-mapping artwork on the monument. Archival footage will be displayed to recreate the launch of Apollo 11 and tell the story of the first moon landing.

You can experience "Apollo 50: Go for the Moon" on July 19 and 20 from viewing areas on the National Mall in front of the Smithsonian Castle between ninth and 12th streets. Full sound, projection screens and a 40-foot-wide recreation of the famous Kennedy Space Center countdown clock will be part of the presentation. The free show will run three times on both nights—9:30 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.