Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong / AP

The Apollo 11 rocket NASA that launched into space 50 years ago this week was also the blast-off point for things now commonly used on Earth. The first moonwalk created the foundations for technology that moves people and products around every day. 

The lunar laser retroreflector used by astronaut Buzz Aldrin was critical to developing global positioning systems or GPS. Todd Jaegar is global director of commercial optics for Haraeus, which helped produce the reflector. Jaegar visited On Second Thought from Haraeus' quartz glass facility in Buford.