Space and Rocket Center marking 50th anniversary of Apollo 16

Space and Rocket Center marking 50th anniversary of Apollo 16

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s space museum is both marking the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 16 lunar mission and looking ahead to the next U.S. spaceflight to the moon.

A member of the Apollo 16 crew, former astronaut Charlie Duke, will be on hand in Huntsville on Wednesday as the U.S. Space and Rocket Center looks back on the April 1972 mission. The Apollo 16 capsule, nicknamed “Casper,” is housed at the museum, which cleaned up the spaceship earlier this year ahead of the celebration.

Duke and NASA officials are among those who will participate in an event that also will focus on the space agency’s upcoming test of its new, 30-story Space Launch System rocket. NASA is targeting June for a test flight to send the rocket to the moon without a crew.

The administrator of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Jody Singer, and James Free, NASA’s associate administrator for exploration development, will discuss the space agency’s work to return to the moon.

After the first launch in NASA’s Artemis program, NASA plans to send astronauts around the moon in 2024. A lunar landing attempt is planned for as early as 2025.

People last walked on the moon during the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972.