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Space.com at 20: A Letter (and Thank You!) from the Editor

With NASA (and, indeed, the world) celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing today, we've got a little celebration of our own at Space.com. Twenty years ago today, on July 20, 1999, Space.com went live for the very first time. 

That's right, we're 20 years old!

Twenty years ago, Bill Clinton was president of the United States and it had been 30 years since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins made their epic Apollo 11 moonshot. The space shuttle was the world's only reusable spacecraft. 

Today, we have private space planes and spacecraft (from Virgin Galactic and SpaceX, etc.) and reusable rocketships (SpaceX and Blue Origin). Meanwhile, the International Space Station continues its role as humanity's foothold in orbit as the Hubble Space Telescope, Mars rover Curiosity and countless other robotic missions keep extending our reach across the final frontier with every day ... and Sol.

Here's 3 Free Posters for NASA's Apollo 11 Anniversary (and Space.com, Too!)

Tariq Malik, Space.com Editor in Chief (Image credit: Space.com/Jeremy Lips)

There have been tragedies, too, as we mourned those lost on NASA's Columbia and Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise, as well as in the pursuit of spaceflight. And while humanity may not be as far in space as we at Space.com would like (like Mars, for example), you have to admit: It's an exciting time to be space fan. 

NASA is now aiming to return astronauts to the moon by 2024, and private spacecraft from SpaceX, Boeing, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and others seem truly poised to begin regular tourist and crew flights to space. It seems the Space Age future of science fiction is closer than ever. 

And at Space.com, we're both thrilled and thankful. 

Thrilled because it feels like the world is poised on another giant leap in space, one fueled by both government agencies and private companies, that would lead to another Apollo 11-like moment. And because today, the public has more access to space than ever before. Astronaut photos, videos from space, even the sounds of Mars, can be found with just a click in a way we only hoped for when the lights went on at Space.com. 

We're thankful because of you, the reader. Your passion, dedication and thirst for everything space is what KEEPS the lights on Space.com. It allows our team to pursue the research, interviews, conferences and launches to bring you something amazing every day. And for that we thank you. It's been a blast. 

Full disclosure: Twenty years ago, I was not at Space.com. When this site was founded by news anchor Lou Dobbs and Rich Zahradnick (Neil Armstrong was on our board), I was completing a degree in Print Journalism (I liked newspapers, still do!) with a minor in Astronomy at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. But, it turns out, I was still writing about space. 

By sheer coincidence, my first space story was about the 30th anniversary of Apollo 11 and Buzz Aldrin, who put his moon boot print in cement at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda to mark the occasion. Since I first joined Space.com in 2001, I've seen so much more: rockets and astronauts leaving Earth and returning, too; cars landing on Mars and scaling mountains; spacecraft visiting the edge of the solar system as others leave it altogether. 

I even met Elmo at a shuttle launch. Twice

What an amazing 20 years it's been. I can only imagine what the next 20 years will bring, and what my 10-year-old daughter (who's seen two launches and built a Saturn V rocket and Lunar Lander) will have seen by then. 

Thank you for helping make it all happen as we tell humanity's space story. 

And don't forget: Keep looking up!

Sincerely,

Tariq Malik
Space.com Editor in Chief

Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik. Follow us @Spacedotcom and Facebook.  

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