50 years ago yesterday, the Apollo 11 mission left Earth. Several days later that mission would accomplish mankind's greatest achievement in space. Man walking on the moon. 50th-anniversary celebrations and TV specials are scheduled throughout this week. But did you know that the world would have never heard Neil Armstrong's famous words if it weren't for a Cedar Rapids company?

Collins Radio, or what now is known as Collins Aerospace, was contracted by NASA to provide all the communications equipment that the astronauts would use to communicate with the Houston Control Center. They also provided equipment that transferred data from sensors that monitored the spacecraft, astronauts and the space environment.

In order for the communication system to work, Collins Radio also developed a worldwide network of 15 tracking stations that kept the Apollo mission in contact with mission control. It was called the Unified S-Band System, and it also helped track the spacecraft's location and position.

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

Without the work of Collins Radio, the world would never have heard Neil Armstrong's immortal words as he stepped down to the surface of the moon 50 years ago this week. One of mankind's greatest feats, done with the help of engineers right here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. A giant leap indeed.


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