Apollo 11 – The Immersive Live Show features cutting-edge stagecraft. All images: Tomás Romero

The countdown to the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20th, 1969, started months ago, with brands and bands including Oreo, Krispy Kreme, Nike and Duran Duran marking the occasion. Now moon landing mania takes flight with United Airlines, the Apollo 11 – Immersive Live Show and beyond.

United Airlines is joining forces this month with Houston First Corporation, Space Center Houston, NASA Johnson Space Center and restaurant operator OTG to provide United passengers a number of very cool ways to celebrate the anniversary of mankind’s first trip to the moon.

Taking the anniversary party to the skies, United is debuting a dedicated space-related IFE channel this month featuring more than a dozen documentaries about NASA’s role in the space race, action cam footage or real-life NASA space walks, spectacular views of Earth from the Space Station and more.

Passengers in the United terminal at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston will also get the chance to “dine like an astronaut” this month at the popular, in-terminal restaurants Ember and Tanglewood Grille. Offering up a host of new menu items inspired by the food the crew ate during the actual Apollo 11 mission, the menu was developed by OTG in conjunction with NASA’s Space Food Systems Laboratory in Houston.

At varying times throughout the month, United terminals C and E at IAH will host digital art galleries featuring larger-than-life images from the Apollo 11 mission, space trivia games playable at iPads at all OTG locations, a visit with retired NASA astronaut Ken Cameron and interactive, pop-up science labs hosted by Space Center Houston.

On July 17th, United will launch a special Space City celebration flight from Newark Liberty International airport (EWR) to IAH to commemorate the day the Apollo 11 crew made their first live transmission to Earth from space. The flight will feature space-themed entertainment, gifts and a special guest or two.

“Not only is the Apollo 11 mission rooted in Houston’s past, it also became part of United’s history when Astronaut Neil Armstrong later served on our board of directors. Knowing the deep connection both United and Houston have to this historic mission, we are honored to commemorate this remarkable accomplishment with our customers,” said Rodney Cox, VP for United’s Houston hub.

While Delta Air Lines is airing National Geographic’s Apollo: Missions to the Moon documentary on screens in flight, Apollo 11 mania has extended to the stage with the upcoming launch of Apollo 11 – The Immersive Live Show in Pasadena, California. A fictional, multi-generational take on the historical events leading up the Apollo 11 launch, Apollo 11 is an epic, fully immersive live show with a cast of 20 actors featuring cutting-edge stagecraft and projections housed in a giant, 40,000 square foot traveling venue known as the Lunar Dome.

APEX Media was invited to a special press preview of the show, which left even the most jaded journalists in the Lunar Dome literally speechless. Gearing up to tour the continent over the next three years with an epic 18-city tour, Apollo 11’s director, Scott Faris, said he is proud and honored to play even a small part in the moon landing fever sweeping the nation right now.

“I’m so excited to work on this because I think it’s such a fantastic reminder of what a unified county can achieve and what a great country we are,” Faris said. “For me, it almost chokes me up, I get so excited by this show because I was a total space geek. I watched every launch, every landing and every single flight … The Apollo 11 mission is really one of the greatest achievements of humanity and there is this unifying feeling to it and I hope we can highlight some of that in the show through the educational aspects and entertainment at the same time.”