Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex kicked off the Apollo 11 50th anniversary celebrations by unveiling the Moon Tree Garden, a dramatic new accent to the grounds of the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
The garden, which features 12 trees grown from seeds that orbited the Moon, also includes a George Lundeen sculpture that depicts Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins in their space suits. The statue, titled “The Eagle has Landed,” is a gift to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex from Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans, the nation’s largest mortgage lender.
“As the nation’s top mortgage lender, we treat the impossible as an opportunity,” said Casey Hurbis, chief marketing officer of Rocket Mortgage. “We presented this statue to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex to honor the courage and importance of the Apollo 11 mission, who achieved the impossible by landing man on the Moon and into the annals of history.”
The Moon Trees were provided by Rosemary Roosa, daughter of veteran Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa, and president of the nonprofit Moon Tree Foundation. The foundation was created in honor of her father, who took seeds from loblolly pine, sycamore, sweet gum, redwood, and Douglas fir trees on his space mission as part of a joint U.S. Forest Service/NASA project. The seeds, which have all orbited the Moon, were later germinated and planted around the world to share the story of the mission.
Since then, the Moon Tree Foundation continues to fulfill its mission by planting second-generation “Moon Trees” all over the world. The 12 trees in the Moon Tree Garden represent each crewed Apollo mission. The garden also includes a carving made from the original Moon Tree planted at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex that was lost during Hurricane Irma in 2017.
“We are excited to kick off our Apollo 11 celebrations at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex by officially opening the new Moon Tree Garden,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “The garden and the life-size sculpture of the Apollo 11 crew are tributes to the outstanding accomplishments of the Apollo Program.”
At the center of the Moon Tree Garden, the seven-foot-tall bronze statue is set upon a four-foot-tall concrete base, which features an engraving that honors the Apollo 11 crew and all those who made their historic spaceflight possible. Other enhancements at the Apollo/Saturn V Center include a closer look at Lunar Module 9 and Command and Service Module 119, projection mapping on the side of the Saturn V Rocket, a 1969 period living room and bar scene, and much more.
The opening of the Moon Tree Garden is the first of many events taking place to mark the Apollo 11 50th anniversary. On July 15, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will host a transformation celebration of the reimagined Apollo/Saturn V Center. During the “Apollo 11 Launch Flashback Event Presented by CBS” on July 16, guests will re-live the excitement and anticipation of the moment the Apollo 11 astronauts lifted off for their historic mission to the Moon. The crowd will cheer along with Walter Cronkite as they watch the original CBS broadcast of the launch. Additionally, a July 20 extravaganza will mark the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing and a final welcome home event on July 24 will commemorate the day the Apollo 11 astronauts returned to Earth. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
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About Quicken Loans/ Rocket Mortgage
Detroit-based Quicken Loans is the nation’s largest home mortgage lender. The company closed nearly half a trillion dollars of mortgage volume across all 50 states from 2013 through 2018. In late 2015 Quicken Loans introduced Rocket Mortgage, the first fully digital mortgage experience. Today, 98% of all home loans originated by Quicken Loans utilize Rocket Mortgage Technology.
Quicken Loans moved its headquarters to downtown Detroit in 2010. Today, Quicken Loans and its Family of Companies employ more than 17,000 full-time team members in Detroit’s urban core. The company generates loan production from web centers located in Detroit, Cleveland and Phoenix. Quicken Loans also operates a centralized loan processing facility in Detroit, as well as its San Diego-based One Reverse Mortgage unit. Quicken Loans ranked highest in the country for customer satisfaction for primary mortgage origination by J.D. Power for the past nine consecutive years, 2010 – 2018, and also ranked highest in the country for customer satisfaction among all mortgage servicers the past five consecutive years, 2014 – 2018.
Quicken Loans was once again named to FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list in 2019 and has been included in the magazine’s top 1/3rd of companies named to the list for the past 16 consecutive years. In addition, Essence Magazine named Quicken Loans “#1 Place to Work in the Country for African Americans.”
For more information and company news visit QuickenLoans.com/press-room.