Astronauts’ local ties recalled on moonshot anniversary

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COURTESY OF NASA Astronaut Rusty Schweickart, who grew up in Wall Township and graduated from Manasquan High School, helped pave the way for the Apollo 11 moon landing when he piloted a lunar module during the Apollo 9 mission in March 1969.

Countless beachgoers have left their footprints in the sands of Manasquan beaches. Only one also left footprints on another celestial body.

Saturday, July 20, marks the 50th anniversary of the day humans first set foot on the moon, when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin descended the ladder of Apollo 11’s lunar module and stepped onto the lunar surface.

Mr. Aldrin, originally from Montclair, summered at Manasquan beach during his childhood, and he wasn’t the only local person to figure prominently in the race to the moon. Astronaut Russell L. “Rusty” Schweickart, who piloted a lunar module during Apollo 9, was raised in Wall Township and graduated from Manasquan High School.

Mr. Schweickart helped pave the way to the moon during the Apollo 9 mission in March 1969, when he piloted the first crewed flight test of the lunar module and performed the first in-space test of the portable life-support system used by the 12 astronauts who walked on the moon.

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