The little-known story behind the Apollo 11 party pictures taken for TIME in 1969

TO PHOTOGRAPH A MOON MISSION, THE OBVIOUS direction to point your camera would be up. But David Burnett, a 22-year-old photographer who was based out of TIME’s Miami bureau, instead zoomed in on the ordinary Americans who camped out to watch the Apollo 11 astronauts lift off for the moon on July 16, 1969, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Scenes of civilians hoping for a good look at the launch.

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