Apollo 11 50th Anniversary

Looking Forward While Looking Back

A Historical Look at Apollo 11 and CoorsTek Technical Ceramics Used in Space Applications

We are taking a look back at the Apollo 11 historical journey that put the first man on the moon while also advancing space travel technology. At CoorsTek, we are honored that our technical ceramics were used in the Apollo missions, and are still being used in space travel applications today. Not only have we been a part of going to the moon in the 1960s, but our materials are being used in space applications today.

We will explore the historic Apollo 11 mission and the use of technical ceramics throughout this series. You can follow our series below or engage with us on our social media channels:

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Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Graphic

Saturday, July 20: 50th Anniversary of the Lunar Landing

July 20, 1969 

Photo of Neil "Buzz" Aldrin's footprint on the moon's surface, marking the first person to step on the moon.“The Eagle has landed.”

Today marks two historic events in one: the lunar landing and the first-time humans stepped on the moon. It was an exciting and monumental moment in time.

At 4:18pm (EDT) the Apollo 11 Lunar module landed on the moon’s surface, described as “[settling] down with a jolt almost like that of a jet landing on a runway.” It was a little over six hours later when Neil Armstrong, at 10:56pm (EDT), became the first person to leave a footprint on the moon’s surface.

Apollo 11 Astronaut Mike Collins stated that it took about 400,000 people to make landing on the moon possible.

We at CoorsTek would like to take this moment to recognize the three Apollo 11 astronauts and the 400,000 people who made this possible. We’re also proud to say that some of these people were from CoorsTek, helping develop technical ceramics for the Apollo missions.

It truly was: “…one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Here’s to the next 50 years of space travel and beyond.


Schematic of the Apollo 11 spacecraft showing the command service module and the lunar module.


Listen to the Apollo 11 Liftoff

Thursday, July 18

July 18, 1969

At this point in history, the Apollo 11 astronauts have been in space traveling the 230,000+ miles it takes to get to the moon. It won't be until Saturday before they reach their destination. Remember that stat on your next road trip.

Once in space, after shedding the rocket propelling them out of earth's gravitational pull, the Apollo 11 and its two main modules could be seen: The Command Service Module (CSM) and the Lunar Module (LM).

Yesterday we mentioned that CoorsTek technical ceramics were used in the navigational components of the Apollo missions. The rigorous conditions of space travel require materials that can stand up to the rapid temperature changes and the brutal cold outer space temperatures a vessel has to endure.

Our experience in technologies and materials for space applications has grown throughout the years since this historic journey. We still provide materials for navigational components; however, our materials go into other space applications like sensor components, HID lighting components, substrates for electronics, and silicon nitride bearing balls.

Components Referenced:

Cerbec silicon nitride bearing balls.Bearing Balls (Silicon Nitride): Cerbec® silicon nitride bearing balls outperform traditional all steel bearing balls. Their material properties and finishing maximize the benefits of using technical ceramics in space vessel propulsion applications. More...


Electronic substrates made with technical ceramics for aerospace grade applications.Electronic Substrates (Aerospace Grade): Technical ceramic substrates for electronics provide high-reliability performance for aerospace applications. They are able to handle a broad range of temperatures and environmental conditions where other materials fail. More... 


Parabolic reflector housing made with technical ceramics.HID Lighting Components: Our engineered ceramic components provide superior thermal stability and translucency for high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting applications. These translucent components are made in various sizes, shapes, and geometries. More...


Sensor components made with advanced technical ceramics for aerospace grade applications.Sensor Components: Spacecraft use sensors across all kinds of systems to detect pressures, temperatures, proximity, and oxygen. These components use exclusive advanced technical ceramics for precise, robust sensors to withstand the extremes of aerospace applications. More...


Wednesday, July 17

July 17, 1969

One of the liftoffs from the Apollo missions. Photo is courtesy of the Project Apollo Archive.The 1960s were a time of great cultural and societal change. It was also considered the dawn of the Space Age in the United States. CoorsTek played a part in the rapid expansion of space travel technology.

During this era, new applications were beginning to use technical ceramics. One such application was ceramic components that went inside the navigational controls for the early Apollo space missions.

It’s kind of cool being a part of history. It’s also kind of cool helping advance technology for the future of space travel, too.

Today our components go into satellites, space telescopes, and a variety of aerospace applications where other materials are unable to withstand the harsh conditions of outer space.

Materials Used in Similar Applications Today:

Aerospace-Grade Electronics Substrates

Tuesday, July 16

July 16, 1969 at 09:32:00 EDT

“12….11….10….9….ignition sequence start….6….5….4….3….2….1…0  All engine running. Lift off. We have a liftoff. Thirty-two minutes past the hour. Liftoff on Apollo 11”

It was at 09:32:00 EDT on July 16, 1969, when the Apollo 11 was launched into space. Today we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this historic journey that brought the first man to the moon.

We at CoorsTek are proud to honor Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Michael Collins, and the entire team of people @NASA diligently worked to achieve this goal, setting us on a long trajectory of space travel.

We’re also honored to be a part of history. CoorsTek was used in the navigational components for Apollo missions.

Over the next nine days, we will celebrate this journey by taking time to look back on the history, explore what we’re doing today to help expand space exploration technology, and where we see the future going in the next 50 years of space travel and beyond.

CoorsTek honors the men and women of NASA who tirelessly worked to achieve this monumental goal in history.



Apollo 11 Liftoff; July 16, 1969.