U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, on Tuesday, July 16, unveiled astronaut Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
Armstrong’s spacesuit is back on display after 13 years off the showcase—just in time for the 50th anniversary of Apollo11 mission.
On July 16, 1969, at 9:32 a.m., Armstrong with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins made their historic expedition to the moon.
Before the unveiling ceremony, Pence delivered a speech to celebrate the golden anniversary. “It is an honor to be here at the National Air and Space Museum to unveil one of the most important artifacts of what President Kennedy called, correctly, the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure upon which mankind has ever embarked,” said Pence.
“On this day 50 years ago, Apollo 11 launched from pad 39 A at the Kennedy Space Center to begin its historic quarter million mile journey to the moon,” continued Pence.
And three days later, Armstrong wore the spacesuit to take “that one giant leap for mankind.” The restored 76-pound spacesuit that Armstrong wore was preserved and is now back on display in mint condition inside a special showcase.
“It took engineers, manufacturers, and technicians more than 10 years to design the 21 layers of fabric, rubber, metal, and fiberglass that just are encased in this space suit,” said Pence.
The vice president talks about how the Apollo11 mission had impacted him. “It stamped an indelible mark on my life, on my imagination and frankly on the imagination of my generation and every generation since,” said Pence.
“It was a contribution to the life of this nation and to the history of the world,” continued Pence.
He called Armstrong a hero that “the American people have expressed their gratitude by preserving this symbol of courage.”
Pence said America could never fully repay “the debt this nation owes to our Apollo astronauts including the man who wore the suit that we unveil today.”
Pence called for all present at the event to mark the golden anniversary of Apollo 11 to remember the legacy the three astronauts have left behind and its capability to inspire future generations.
Present at the unveiling ceremony at the museum were NASA chief Jim Bridenstine and Armstrong’s son, Rick.
The Smithsonian Institution launched a Kickstarter funding campaign to raise $500,000 in just five days to help preserve the irreplaceable piece of American history.
On Tuesday morning, Apollo 11’s astronauts—Aldrin and Collins—returned to the exact location from where they flew to the moon 50 years ago.
NASA had invited Aldrin and Collins to Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A. Together the two astronauts marked the precise moment—9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969—that their Saturn V rocket departed on its maiden journey to the moon. Mission commander Armstrong—who took the first lunar footsteps—passed away in 2012.