NASA’s historic Apollo 11 launch comes to your phone in AR

We’re nearing the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing (on July 20) and, to celebrate, there’s an interactive augmented reality app called 321 LAUNCH that will bring a faithful recreation of the launch to your mobile device — and any surface you happen to have at hand.

There are actually two AR experiences launches as part of this project, including the launch simulator, which will start on July 16th and provide eight days of live broadcast content until the actual end of mission day on July 24th, with the spacecraft’s return to Earth. The other will be part of the USA TODAY app, as USA TODAY is putting together the broadcast along with FLORIDA TODAY. This embedded AR content will focus on educational material about the technology behind NASA’s Apollo program, including the Saturn V rocket that brought the lander to the Moon.

The 321 LAUNCH app is available now, and provides a launch simulation ahead of the live broadcast that lets you follow step-by-step as the rocket is assembled, moved to the pad and ultimately launched. Helpful descriptions provide a great summary of what’s happening at each step, and you can do this anywhere you find a flat surface.

It’s a great way to easily and accessibly experience the launch and learn more about the technology NASA developed to make it happen, along with learning some general info about spaceflight and what goes into launching any rocket — plus, it’s a free download.