Lift Off NC: Apollo + Beyond

50 years ago, the astronauts of Apollo 11 planted their moon boots on the lunar surface and captured the imagination of the nation. Now — half a century later — it’s the time for a new generation to experience the magic and majesty of that first “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

During 2019, join museums* throughout North Carolina for a healthy dose of space mania with Lift Off NC: Apollo + Beyond, a celebration of 50 years of space and lunar explorations. This website will be your connection to all the events happening in celebration, including festivals, exhibits, lunar and star parties, movies, rocket launches, space camps, astronomy days, musical performances, educational programming ... and even a few Star Wars-themed events!

List of upcoming events below! 


Wednesday, March 13
7:30 - 9pm

Dr. Mae Jemison blasted into orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992 making her the first woman of color to go into space. She continued to serve as a NASA astronaut for the next six years. After leaving NASA, Dr. Jemison founded two organizations focused on the beneficial integration of science and techonology into our everyday life. 

Capacity for this event is limited and tickets must be purchased! LEARN MORE

Model Rocket Workshop

Saturday, March 16 (Build Day)
Saturday, March 23 (Launch Day)

Local rocketry clubs will lead participants through a workshop on designing and building a model rocket. Rockets will launch the following week. Museum admission rates apply for this event. 

More information coming soon. 

Moon Madness

Tuesday, March 26 - Sunday, March 31

March is Moon Madness! Visit the museum and join educators and NASA ambassadors in The Lab for a series of hands-on experiments focusing on the Moon and its mysteries. Museum admission rates apply for this event.

More information coming soon. 

Thursday, April 4, 7pm
Special Guest: Gerald D. Griffin, Flight Director, Apollo Program

Where were you that night? Nearly 50 years after America put a man on the Moon, Griffin will share a first-hand account of that extraordinary event. In addition, he will explore insights into the lunar landings and the viewpoints of some key figures from the era, then consider the future of space exploration.

Griffin's appearance is proudly supported by NC Space Grant.

Thursday, April 4, 5 - 9pm
Friday, April 5, 8am - 5pm

This symposium -- for college and university students, higher education faculty, and aerospace professionals--features a keynote address by Gerald D. Griffin, lead engineer on the Apollo missions and former director of the Johnson Space Center. The 2019 SPACE Symposium will showcase the work of NC Space Grant award recipients, as well as other college and university STEM students, and will offer students in the aerospace and space-science fields a chance to hear plenary talks from members of the space community (including representatives of NASA, commercial space, and aviation) and present own work. LEARN MORE

Friday, April 5, 9am

North Carolina has many connections to the Space Race! Tour the museum's new lobby exhibit to learn some stories about the people, places, chimps, and things that helped make that historic leap on the Moon. Open through January 5, 2020. 

North Carolina and the Space Race
Friday, April 5, 10am

Guest Curator for the museum's lobby exhibit One Giant Leap, Jessica Bandel, and the State Office of Archives and History will launch an online exhibit with expanded resources about North Carolina's role in America's race to the Moon. LEARN MORE

Friday, April 5, 10:15 - 11:15am

Tune into this interactive live-stream event and explore Tar Heel ties to the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions with Gerald D. Griffin, a former director of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, and during NASA's Apollo program, a flight director in mission control. At his side during this interactive event will be Jessica Bandel, guest curator of One Giant Leap, who will provdie additional stories about North Carolina's role in that historic "one giant leap" on the Moon. Text questions during the porgram and we'll answer them live! 

Griffin's appearance is proudly supported by NC Space Grant. LIVE! programs are sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. 

Educators, students and general public: register for this live event at

Over 50 locations! Find a location near you at
Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13
Times vary by location

To honor the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission to the Moon, the seventh annual Statewide Star Party will become the Lunar Party! More than 50 sites across North Carolina will host an evening of skywatching sessions focused on the Moon.

Brought to you by Morehead Planetarium and Science Center and NC Space Grant! LEARN MORE

Adult Space Camp

Thursday, April 25
6:30 - 10:30pm
Ages 21 and up

Enjoy food and adult beverages, view Apollo-era artifacts and take in some out-of-this-world science! 

Museum admission rates and other fees apply. 

Legacy of Apollo: Science of the Moon

Thursday Evenings: April 25, May 23, and July 18
7 - 8:30pm

Our Science Cafe series features visitin planetary scienctists discussing current research on topics inluding Apollo and the Moon.

Hardwired Code: Apollo and the Invention of Software
Tinkering Family Workshop

Friday, April 26, 1 - 3pm
Saturday, April 27, 10am - 12pm & 1 - 3pm

This popular family workshop will focus on computers, software, and the Apollo program. Develop your own space mission with LEGO robotics and create code. 

Museum admission rates and other fees apply. 

Film Screening: Earthrise

Tuesday, May 14

Told by Apollo 8 astronauts, Earthrise features the first image of Earth taken from space. A discussion session follows the film.  

2018; Not Rated; Run Time: 30 minutes

Saturday, June 1, 7:30pm

Experience the power of live music as the North Carolina Symphony leads this journey through space and beyond with some of your favorite music from Star Wars, The Planets by British composer Gustav Holst, and more! 

Tickets are $28 per person, groups, 10 or more, $185; 12 and under, free on the lawn.

Summerfest 2019 is presented to you by UNC REX Healthcare. 

Countdown to Launch

Saturday, June 8 

Countdown to man's first steps on the Moon! While you're counting, enjoy hands-on activities, explore space in our StarLab dome, and meet local space scientists---all during our daylong, museum-wide celebration.

Museum admission rates apply. 

North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh
Saturday, July 20
11am - 4pm

Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11's landing! Our indoor and outdoor celebration will feature hands-on crafts, demonstrations, and activities---including a virtual reality lab where you can "travel" to space and "be" the first person on the Moon; and a bungee-jumping station where you, too, can experience weightlessness, like real astronauts. More and more out-of-this-world fun will be announced as the festival nears! 

Cape Fear Museum, Wilmington
Saturday, July 20
10am - 3pm

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, lunar landing, and moonwalk. With programs for little explorers, planetarium shows, mobile science programs, discovery labs, and a documentary screening, there's a full schedule of great activities.

NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh
Friday, July 26
5:30 - 9pm

Join us at the Museum of Natural Sciences to watch Gru steal one of the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Moon and even the fluffiest of unicorn toys in Despicable Me. There will be crafts, experiments, activities, food and we’ll host Alan Rich, a NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Solar System Ambassador, to help us separate the facts from the fiction following the screening.

Talley Student Union, NC State University
Friday, August 30
10am - 12pm

Come to Talley Student Union to see NASA astronaut Christina Koch — an alumna of NC State and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics — answer students' questions in a live video downlink from the International Space Station. 

In addition to the conversation with Koch, the program will feature moderated discussions with researchers in fields relevant to space exploration and a keynote address by NC State astrophysicist, Katie Mack. The event will also include interactive exploration stations focused on rocketry, science, engineering and related subjects. Join NC Space Grant, the NC State high-powered rocketry team and others for two hours of fun and learning. This event is free and open to the public. LEARN MORE

North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh
Thursday, September 19

Dr. Christine Darden, Mathematician, Data Analyst, Aeronautical Engineer, NASA
Darden--who was featured in Margot Lee Shetterly's book Hidden Figures--has been recognized for her work in researching supersonic flight and sonic booms. This evening, she will share some of the experiences she had as an African American woman working for NASA during the Space Race.

*Participating museums include Marbles Kids Museum, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, Museum of Life and Science, North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Space Grant, and North Carolina Symphony.