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NASA

Before he retired, Mel Yessenow was chairman of the psychology department at SUNY Geneseo. But back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Brighton man was a human engineering psychologist.

After earning his doctorate at the University of Rochester, he worked for the Grumman Corporation for several years, part of the team that designed the lunar module.

NASA

For decades, L3 Harris Technologies has been involved with NASA, including the development of the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary.

It’s yet another connection to Rochester’s long association with a variety of space programs. The 50th anniversary this month of the moon landing is being celebrated at L3 Harris as well as at Eastman Kodak, since Harris’s Space and Airborne Systems business has its roots in the photography and related work that Kodak did in the early days of the space program.

NASA

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced that the United States would commit to a lunar landing by 1970 before a special joint session of Congress.

That ambitious goal set off a scramble that required an enormous effort by scientists, engineers, astronauts, and many others as the U.S. tried to respond to the Soviet Union’s early accomplishments in the so-called "space race."

WATCH: A local man's contribution to the moon landing 50 years ago

Jul 15, 2019

Fifty years ago this month an historic event proved that humans could land on the moon. Many hands played a role in making that mission a success, including retired Eastman Kodak electronics engineer and scientist, Arthur Cosgrove. In the mid-to-late 1960s, Cosgrove was directly involved with the Lunar Orbiter Program which helped navigate ideal landing sites for Apollo 11 through mapping the moon’s surface. Cosgrove and WXXI news director, Randy Gorbman, who has been reporting on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, join host Hélène Biandud Hofer to discuss where we’ve been and what we have yet to explore.

It has been 50 years since the Apollo 11 moon landing, and we discuss what it took for the U.S. to meet John F. Kennedy's goal. What kind of technology did we need to develop? And what did we learn from the mission?

Our guests share the legacy of the moon landing, and discuss the current state of the space program and research. We also preview a number of local events and exhibits commemorating the moon landing. In studio:

Don't see the video above? Click here.

When astronaut Neil Armstrong first stepped on the moon 50 years ago, it was a giant leap for functional fashion.

The spacesuit he wore was an unprecedented blend of technology and tailoring.

"The suit itself is an engineering marvel," says Malcolm Collum, the chief conservator for the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. "Every single thing on here is a specific function. It is engineered to the last little detail."

Updated at 1:49 p.m. ET

Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company founded by billionaire Richard Branson, is preparing to enter the stock market by the end of 2019, through a merger with an existing company.

It would be the first spaceflight company to be publicly owned; Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX are both privately held.

When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon 50 years ago, it was an inspiring moment for people around the world.

But another kind of explorer is responsible for much of the modern enthusiasm for space exploration.

"Since the days of Apollo, the greatest adventures in space have been these robots that have gone all over the solar system," says Emily Lakdawalla, a self-described planetary evangelist at the Planetary Society.

When a rocket carrying the first module of the International Space Station blasted off from Kazakhstan in November of 1998, NASA officials said the station would serve as an orbiting home for astronauts and cosmonauts for at least 15 years.

In 1961, when President John F. Kennedy announced a goal of "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth" before the end of the decade, the mission seemed all but impossible.

"[The U.S.] didn't have a spaceship that could fly to the moon," journalist Charles Fishman notes. "We didn't have a rocket that could launch to the moon. We didn't have a computer small enough or powerful enough to do the navigation necessary to get people to the moon. We didn't have space food."

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