Ken Kremer — SpaceUpClose.com & RocketSTEM – 25 July 2019
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – Vice President Mike Pence reiterated the Trump Administrations strong support for sending American astronauts back to the Moon by 2024 during a visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida where he gave a speech honoring and coinciding with the exact 50th anniversary of the agency’sApollo 11 Moon landing in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building on July 20 -that featured surviving Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin on stage with the VP.
“It’s great to be back here at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, as Vice President and as Chairman of the National Space Council, with my wonderful wife Karen, to celebrate – to celebrate with all of you the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing a half a century ago that will be remembered forever,” said Vice President Pence on July 20 at KSC.
“Today, our nation pays tribute to the three brave astronauts who sat atop a 360-foot rocket that lifted off from Pad 39A 50 years ago this week — two of whom walked on the moon 50 years ago today.”
“Apollo 11 is the only event in the 20th century that stands a chance of being widely remembered in the 30th century. A thousand years from now, July 20, 1969 will likely be a date that will live in the minds and imaginations of men and women, as long as there are men and women to
remember — across this world, across this solar system, and beyond.”
“So, today, we remember the heroes of Apollo 11 and all the heroes that supported
them in their mission — some 400,000 Americans.
Pence also announced the completion of NASA’s Orion crew capsule for the first Artemis lunar mission set to blastoff on an uncrewed test flight perhaps by late 2020 or more likely in 2021.
“Thanks to the hard work of the men and women of NASA, and of American industry, the Orion crew vehicle for the Artemis 1 mission is complete and ready to begin preparations for its historic first flight,” said Vice President Pence on July 20 at KSC.
The media including Space UpClose were invited to attend the speech. Enjoy our Space UpClose eyewitness photo gallery from the KSC event in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building.
The Artemis 1 mission will launch on the maiden mission of NASA mammoth Space Launch
System (SLS) rocket around the Moon “to test the system and pave the way for landing the first woman and the next man on the Moon in five years, as well as future missions to Mars.”
In addition to Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin, Pence was joined on stage in the O & C by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Kennedy Center Director Robert Cabana, Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson, and Rick Armstrong, son of Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The Apollo 11 astronaut crew comprised Commander Neil A. Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, and Command Module Pilot (CMP) Michael Collins.
They launched on NASA’s mammoth 363 foot tall (110 meter) Apollo Saturn V rocket on July 16, 1969 on an eight day trip to the Moon and back.
That’s just 8 years after the famous speech by President Kennedy announcing the goal to “land
a man on the moon and return him safely to Earth before this decade is out.”
That first manned lunar landing occurred on July 20, 1969 with Neil Armstrong and Buzz
Aldrin – and was watched by billions across the globe in the world largest TV event
uniting humanity like nothing before.
“Similar to the 1960s, we too have an opportunity to take a giant leap forward for all of humanity,” said NASA Administrator Bridenstine at the July 20 event.
“President Trump and Vice President Pence have given us a bold direction to return to the Moon by 2024 and then go forward to Mars. Their direction is not empty rhetoric. They have backed up their vision with the budget requests need to accomplish this objective. NASA is calling this the Artemis program in honor of Apollo’s twin sister in Greek mythology, the goddess of the Moon. And we are well on our way to getting this done.”
“NASA’s goal 50 years ago was to prove the agency could land humans on the Moon and return them safely to Earth. The goal now is to return to the Moon in a sustainable way to prepare for the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars for the first time ever.”
In March, VP Pence challenged NASA to accelerate plans to return to the Moon and announced the Trump Administrations new goal of achieving an American lunar landing by 2024 at the
south pole with the first woman and next man from NASA’s astronaut corps. That landing would take place on the Artemis-3 mission.
The Trump Administration agreed to provide NASA with a $1.6 Billion budget boost to the Fiscal Year 2020 budget request for NASA.
Bridenstine is working hard with Congress to obtain the additional funds which are required to
kickstart development of a new human lunar lander.
Artemis 1 will be the first mission launching Orion on the SLS rocket from Kennedy’s Launch Pad 39B. The mission will take Orion thousands of miles past the Moon on an approximately three-week test flight.
Orion will return to Earth and splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.
But SLS is years behind schedule and billions over budget. Thus the launch date for
Artemis 1 has slipped 3 years and a reliable date is hard to predict.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Earth and Planetary science and human spaceflight news: www.kenkremer.com –www.spaceupclose.com – twitter @ken_kremer
– email: ken at kenkremer.com
Dr. Kremer is a research scientist and journalist based in the KSC area, active in outreach and interviewed regularly on TV and radio about
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