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Drones Fly Over Kennedy Space Center to Celebrate Apollo 11 Anniversary

BY Isabella Lee
24 July 2019

Three hundred drones flew over the Kennedy Space Center this month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11—mankind’s first moon landing.

The anniversary event took place on July 16, 2019 to commemorate the mission that landed Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin on the moon 50 years ago in July of 1969.

Studio Drift Drone Light Show

Photo by Ossipvan Duivenbode. Source: Studio Drift

Studio Drift Choreographs Drone Light Show To Commemorate Moon Landing

Studio Drift, a performance art and design studio, led the show with their flying sculpture Franchise Freedom. The performance piece is meant to illustrate how “humans strive to live autonomously within societies defined by rules and conventions,” says Studio Drift.

The flying sculpture was composed of 300 Intel Shooting Star drones programmed to fly autonomously along specific flight paths. Artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta choreographed each drone’s movements to express the balance we seek between individual freedom and belonging to a group.

Each drone was programmed to light up with varying colors and levels of intensity. Drones closer together had a brighter and more vibrant color than those further apart.

Apollo 11 Drone Light Show

Photo by Ossipvan Duivenbode. Source: Studio Drift

Music also played a part in making the show monumental. The sculpture flew overhead as Duran Duran played the opening song of their celebratory concert. Duran Duran composed the song specifically to accompany the drone performance, tying all the creative elements of the show together.

Drone Light Shows Growing in Popularity, Intel Shooting Star Drones Used in Over 600 Shows

Studio Drift has performed their piece Franchise Freedom on multiple occasions, including at Art Basel Miami Beach 2017 and Burning Man 2018. Drone light shows have grown in popularity as an entertainment medium that uniquely displays the intersection between technology and art.

Intel’s Shooting Star Drones are the most common choice for putting on these spectacular performances. Intel’s drones have been used in over 600 shows in over 20 countries. These performances include the 2019 Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show and the 2018 Winter Olympics record-breaking drone light show.

Intel Shooting Star drones are designed specifically for drone light shows and weigh less than 330 grams. Their design is meant to enhance safety, especially important when operating over groups of people (which requires a waiver from the FAA). The body is constructed with a soft frame made of flexible plastics and foam, and the quadcopter’s propellers are encased.

The tiny drones’ built-in LED lights create more than four billion color combinations. With dynamic, 3D animations and brilliant color combinations, each Intel Shooting Star drone serves as a pixel to light up and paint the night sky for an amazing experience.

Watch Studio Drift’s performance, brought to life by Intel Shooting Star Drones, take place at Kennedy Space Center in the video below.  Also, be sure to share your reactions to the artful display in this thread on our community forum.

Studio Drift: 300 drones at NASA's Kennedy Space Center with Duran Duran


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