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On the moon for fifty years

Heraeus and the Apollo 11 mission

When Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins set off on the first manned moon landing in 1969, they had a laser retroreflector on board. The device still stands on the moon today and makes it possible to measure the exact distance between Earth and Moon. High-tech fused silica from Heraeus made this reflector possible. More infos on the retroreflector and various space missions can be found at

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Video Material

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Info Material

Apollo 11
Source: NASA

Press Release: 50 years of Heraeus on the moon


Infographic: How Lunar Laser Ranging Works

Apollo 11
Source: NASA

Media Briefing “Heraeus and Apollo 11”

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Picture material

Heraeus Tripelprismen

Triple prisms like the ones used for the retroreflector of the Apollo 11 mission.

Heraeus HQS History

Employees of the Heraeus fused silica division in Hanau celebrate a successful production completion (at the end of the 1960s). Peter Hitzschke can be seen on the right hand of the picture (with closed eyes).

 Heraeus Employees Quartz melt (1966)

Employees of the Heraeus fused silica division in Hanau in the year 1966. Third from left is Peter Hitzschke, to his right his superior and head of fused silica production Martin Selke. The disks seen on the picture are mirrors that have been produced in the mid-60s for NASA, presumably for space telescopes.


The core team that was responsible for the production of the triple prisms (grinding and polishing) in the Heraeus fused silica plant in Hanau, Germany (1968). To the right a precision cutting machine can be seen – it was used to cut the triple prisms in their characteristic shape.


Gerhard Steiner controls the quality of the tripelprisms for the Apollo 11 mission (1969).

Aldrin Reflector
Source: NASA

Buzz Aldrin carries the Laser Ranging Retro-Reflector in his right hand on his way to deploy it. In his left hand is the Passive Seismic Experiments Package. Source: NASA.

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