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50 Years After Americans First Walked on the Moon, It’s Time for Another ‘Giant Leap’ for Mankind

from the White House

“Exactly 50 years ago this month, the world watched in awe as Apollo 11 astronauts launched into space with a wake of fire and nerves of steel, and planted our great American flag on the face of the Moon.”

President Donald J. Trump

On July 20, 1969, man took his first steps on the Moon—a goal that President John F. Kennedy set less than a decade before but never lived to see. The achievement captivated the world, including millions of Americans who watched history unfold before their eyes.

Fifty years later, we honor the bravery of three astronauts who entered the unknown, pioneered a new frontier, and left pride in the hearts of Americans for decades to come.

In 1961, before Americans had even orbited the Earth, President Kennedy announced his ambition for the United States to go to the Moon before the decade ran out. The next year, standing before a crowd in Houston, he helped unite Americans behind the Apollo program.

Official crew photo of the Apollo 11 Prime Crew
Official crew photo of the Apollo 11 Prime Crew. From left to right are astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Commander; Michael Collins, Command Module Pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module Pilot.
Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon B. Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11 from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center at 9:32 am EDT on July 16, 1969.
This interior view of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module shows Astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., lunar module pilot, during the lunar landing mission. This picture was taken by Astronaut Neil A. Armstrong, commander, prior to the moon landing.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin walks on the surface of the moon near the leg of the lunar module Eagle during the Apollo 11 mission. Mission commander Neil Armstrong took this photograph with a 70mm lunar surface camera.
Neil Armstrong at work near the lunar module Eagle
As commander of Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong took most of the photographs from the historic moonwalk, but this rare shot from fellow moonwalker Buzz Aldrin shows Armstrong at work near the lunar module Eagle.
NASA and Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC) officials joined with flight controllers to celebrate the successful conclusion of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission in the Mission Control Center.
On July 24, 1969, the Apollo 11 crew splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.
President Richard Nixon with Apollo 11 Crew
The Apollo 11 astronauts, left to right, Commander Neil A. Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin Jr., inside the Mobile Quarantine Facility aboard the USS Hornet, listen to President Richard M. Nixon on July 24, 1969 as he welcomes them back to Earth and congratulates them.
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin salutes after being introduced at the 2019 State of the Union address.
President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine welcome Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, along with the family members of astronaut Neil Armstrong, Friday, July 19, 2019, to the Oval Office of the White House to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.
President Donald J. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine welcome Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, along with the family members of astronaut Neil Armstrong, Friday, July 19, 2019, to the Oval Office of the White House to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.

“We choose to go to the Moon. We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard,” he told them.

From 1961 to 1963, President Kennedy grew NASA’s budget by nearly 300 percent, putting the wheels in motion for America to capture the lead in a Space Race with the Soviet Union.

After President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, President Lyndon Johnson named the space center at Cape Canaveral in his honor. The John F. Kennedy Space Center would launch the historic Apollo 11 mission just six years later.

President Johnson maintained America’s commitment to space exploration. By the time he left office in early 1969, NASA was on the brink of accomplishing the incredible challenge set before it just eight years prior.

Six months later, on July 16, 1969, three astronauts woke up at 4:15 a.m. and ate breakfast.

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins dressed in their space suits around 5:45, and by 7 a.m. they were boarding Saturn V. At 9:32 a.m., more than a million people gathered on Florida’s eastern coast to watch Saturn V launch for the moon.

Four days later, on July 20, Armstrong took a step as the world held its breath. President Richard Nixon picked up the phone to make the longest distance phone call ever recorded—to the Moon.

Quote

For one priceless moment in the whole history of man, all the people on this Earth are truly one: one in their pride in what you have done, and one in our prayers that you will return safely to Earth.

President Richard Nixon, 1969

The three brave astronauts returned safely to Earth four days later after planting the American flag on the face of the Moon.

President Nixon met the astronauts upon their arrival, returning as heroes—in the United States and across the world. More than 100 foreign leaders congratulated the astronauts on their historic feat.

The Apollo 11 mission ignited enthusiasm across America for space exploration—a flame that unfortunately waned over time. Disbanded in 1993, the National Space Council lay dormant for nearly a quarter of a century.

Now, 50 years after Apollo 11 took mankind to the Moon, America is renewing its commitment to space exploration.

President Donald J. Trump has renewed America’s pioneering spirit in space by relaunching the National Space Council and committing to put Americans back on the Moon by 2024. The United States will seek to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028, and then chart a path forward to the exploration of Mars.

Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the renewed National Space Council, will celebrate the Apollo 11 50th anniversary at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. His trip includes a visit to the exact spot where Apollo 11 launched on its historic mission.

“Fifty years ago, ‘one small step for man’ became ‘one giant leap for mankind,’” the Vice President said at a Space Council meeting earlier this year. “But now it’s come the time for us to make the next ‘giant leap’ and return American astronauts to the Moon, establish a permanent base there, and develop the technologies to take American astronauts to Mars and beyond.”

SourceURL:https://www.whitehouse.gov/articles/50-years-americans-first-walked-moon-time-another-giant-leap-mankind/ 50 Years After Americans First Walked on the Moon, It’s Time for Another ‘Giant Leap’ for Mankind | The White House

Buzz was the Grand Marshal of the Ridgewood 4th of July Parade in 1981

2 thoughts on “50 Years After Americans First Walked on the Moon, It’s Time for Another ‘Giant Leap’ for Mankind

  1. Forget Mars. The risk of grievous illness or premature death due to the ravages of cosmic radiation, against which no practical form of shielding is effective, is too great.

  2. One Giant Leap would be to NOT spend 1 triilion dollars more than we take in every year.
    Nah, that will never happen, let’s go to Mars.

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