CAPE CANAVERAL (CBSMiami) – 50 years ago our universe got just a little bit smaller when Neil Armstrong took that giant leap for mankind and set foot on the moon.

Vice President Mike Pence helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing at Kennedy Space Center Saturday.

“Today our nation pays tribute to three brave astronauts,” the Vice President said.

Pence was next to the second man to ever walk on the moon, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

That wasn’t the only way many in Brevard County celebrated the major milestone.

“My God. We’ve landed on the moon,” Retired NASA engineer Bob Pearson said.

That was his reaction 50 years ago.

“Everybody there was shaking hands with everybody else. That was an amazing day.”

It’s a day that could not have happened without his help.

“You taught astronauts how to walk on the moon?” CBS4’s Ty Russell asked.

He answered, “Every one of them.”

There was standing room only at The American Space Museum in Titusville, which honors the Apollo missions and more. It’s a facility, run off of donations, not far from Kennedy Space Center.

People were there Saturday to hear stories from key players from the Apollo mission.

“This is minute by minute of that flight,” Pearson said.

Pearson still has his notes from every Apollo mission. He showed us the list of people who have even used the lunar landing simulator.

People also got the chance to meet the first woman ever to be inside the Launch Control Center Firing Room at Kennedy Space Center, JoAnn Morgan.

“It was a big thrill for me to be there. It was exciting. I could feel the tension in the room,” Morgan said.

During the Apollo missions, Morgan oversaw the equipment on the ground for the launches. During the Apollo 11 mission, she credits her husband for helping her realize how important of a role she played.

“When I saw Neil Armstrong stand on the moon, he said ‘honey, you’re going to be in the history books. I had not thought about that. That word history had started to sink in,” she said.

Looking ahead, Morgan believes the United States is behind schedule when it comes to missions to the moon and Mars.

“It’s about time we get on with it. Humans are meant to explore. The universe is out there,” Morgan said.

Vice President Pence also announced the Orion Spacecraft, which is designed to take astronauts to the moon and beyond, is complete. The goal is to be back on the moon in 2024.

For more information on the American Space Museum, click here.

The museum will have an auction on August 23 to the 24th on 4,000 rare photographs including items previously owned by astronauts and items that have been flown to the moon from Apollo missions.

Ty Russell

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