President Donald Trump met with prominent Apollo 11 astronauts at an Oval Office meeting Friday, July 19, commemorating the 50th anniversary since humans first stepped on the moon.
The president met with Buzz Aldrin, Mike Collins, and the family of mission commander Neil Armstrong who passed away in 2012. July 20 will mark the exact day Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon 50 years ago in 1969, as Collins hovered over the moon in their command module.
The stellar group was briefed on the Trump administration’s plans to send more astronauts to the moon and then onto Mars.
“We are bringing the glamour back” to the space program, the president said. He was joined by First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, reported The Associated Press.
Aldrin later tweeted, “Just had an excellent meeting with President Donald Trump! We discussed America’s future in space, ways to address space challenges, and the need to keep exploring beyond the horizon. Keep America Great in Space!!”
Just had an excellent meeting with President Donald Trump! We discussed America’s future in space, ways to address space challenges, and the need to keep exploring beyond the horizon. Keep America Great in Space!! #Apollo50 #ApolloXI https://t.co/zv2LgoCheD
— Buzz Aldrin (@TheRealBuzz) July 19, 2019
Historical ‘Space Race’
In 1969, the United States achieved a historic victory in what was deemed the “Space Race” against Russia, to put the first satellite and ultimately the first man in space. Although Russia succeeded in putting the first satellite into space in 1957 and the first man in space in1961, it was an American who first stepped on the lunar surface.
In total, 12 men have walked on the moon since Neil Armstrong, the first man to step onto the moon.
On June 20, 1969, at 4:18 p.m. Armstrong had radioed to Mission Control in Houston, Texas, the famous words, “The Eagle has landed,” when the craft had touched down onto the Sea of Tranquility region of the moon.
At 10:39, reportedly five hours ahead of schedule, Armstrong made his way down the hatch of the lunar module. A camera on the module recorded his moves and beamed the signal back to Earth where hundreds of millions of people watched on television.
Then, at 10:56 p.m., Armstrong said the words that would be etched in American history forever, “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” seconds before putting his foot down onto the moon’s powdery dust. Buzz Aldrin joined him on the moon’s surface at 11:11 p.m.
Vice President Mike Pence will mark the anniversary with a visit to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Saturday, July 20.