North Dakota connections to Apollo 11 mission

Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

On July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon.

More than 530 million people around the world watched the event on TV, making it the most watched television event in history.

To celebrate the historic moment, NASA has been hosting events and celebrations all month at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Two Bottineau, North Dakota, men had a direct connection to the Apollo mission. Jack Olson worked for Boeing and NASA from 1958 through 1985. He was part of the engineering and design team for the Lunar module landing pads and the Lunar Landing Vehicle. Olson was also a talented artist, and created illustrations of the Lunar module.

Dale Simon was a sailor on the USS Hornet when the aircraft carrier recovered the Apollo 11 astronauts and the "Columbia" Command Module from the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969. He says being part of the recovery mission was exciting.

"I guess I was just lucky to be there, you know you've got the President there, President Nizon was aboard, and you've got the space capsule there, you've got the astronauts there, I mean, that was something else," said Olson.

Simon says President Richard Nixon was flown onto the Hornet to greet the astronauts.

Simon still lives in Bottineau, Olson passed away in 2001.