National Air and Space Museum
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Jim Bridenstine. Thank you for that kind introduction. And more to the point, thank you for your tireless work leading NASA and the entire American space industry. Would you all join me in thanking the 13th Administrator of NASA, Jim Bridenstine, for the great job he’s doing? (Applause.)
To Secretary Wilbur Ross, Chairman Moran, Senator Cramer, Congressman Lucas, Congresswoman Horn, Congressman Babin and members of the House Science Committee — to all the members of Congress who are with us here today, thank you for supporting a renewed American leadership in space. Join me in thanking all these great members of the House and Senate. (Applause.)
And to all of you leaders in industry, the archivists — all of you that have made this evening possible — especially the extraordinary filmmakers who I know we’ll see their handiwork in just a few minutes — it really is an honor to be here today. The world premiere of Apollo 11: First Steps Edition. Welcome all. It is great to be with you. (Applause.)
And let me say, as I begin, allow me to bring greetings from a man who is committed to securing American leadership on Earth and in the boundless expanse of space, whose vision has enlivened America’s commitment to human space exploration. I bring greetings and gratitude to all of you from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump. (Applause.)
And I always wait to introduce the highest-ranking official last. So join me in welcoming an aviator, an educator, a Marine Corps mom, and my wife of 33 years — the Second Lady of the United States of America, Karen Pence. (Applause.)
You know, Karen and I are — we’re pretty passionate about space. In fact, when our kids were very young — and they’re all in their twenties right now; one is in the military, two are still in graduate school — we actually — we actually vacationed at Cape Canaveral, just so we could take the kids to see the rockets. So we’re honored to be with all of you today in this incredible and historic place.
Speaking of which, allow me to thank our host tonight. You already heard from her, but Dr. Ellen Stofan and all the wonderful, dedicated men and women at the National Air and Space Museum. This is the most popular museum in the United States and one of the most popular museums in the world. Thank you, Dr. Stofan. Thank you for your great leadership and stewardship of this national treasure. (Applause.)
It really is amazing to be here, standing here before you — the “Spirit of St. Louis” just above us, that made that transatlantic flight. And then there’s “Glamorous Glennis” just above us, that broke the sound barrier. And then this lunar module behind me.
It’s amazing to think, just in my lifetime, how far America has come. And here at this great museum, we preserve that legacy. But as I just told Dr. Stofan, thanks to President Trump’s leadership, they’re going to have to build a new wing because we’re going to make all new American history in the vast expanse of space. (Applause.)
Not that it should be a surprise. In his Inaugural Address to the nation two years ago, President Trump said that America stands, in his words, “at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space.”
What the President recognized, what you all recognize is America has always been a nation of restless pioneers — ever striving to explore uncharted territories, reach new horizons, venture into the unknown, and expand the boundaries of human knowledge.
But it was in 1961 when another President, John F. Kennedy, laid out a vision for American human space exploration. He expressed those immortal words, laying forth a goal for the nation, that, quote, “before this decade is out… landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”
It was anything but easy. Literally hundreds of thousands of engineers, scientists, technicians worked around the clock to make it possible — planning each detail and preparing every possibility. And just 8 years later — 50 years ago this July — Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins made it happen and proved that the United States can do anything we put our mind to, when we put the first man on the moon. (Applause.)
And tonight, we’re going to see some never-before-seen footage of those incredible moments — and I can’t wait –including when that “one small step” for a man became “one giant leap for mankind.”
The crew of Apollo 11 inspired a generation of Americans and people all over the world. They are giants on whose shoulders we stand — paving our way into the heavens and giving us the courage to dream bigger, to go farther, with the confidence that we can accomplish whatever we set our minds to.
So as we prepare to mark this golden anniversary of their mission later this year, we honor their legacy — the legacy of Apollo 11 — by celebrating it in moments like this. And there will be many celebrations over the course of the year. But I submit to you that we believe we also honor their legacy by renewing our commitment to American leadership in space. (Applause.)
As President Trump said, “It is America’s destiny to be… the leader amongst nations on our adventure into the great unknown.” And over the past two years, I’m pleased to report to you that we’ve begun writing the next chapter of that adventure with ingenuity and incredible Americans all across this nation.
In our first year, after it had lain dormant for nearly a quarter of a century, I’m proud to say that President Trump kept his word to the American people back in 2016, and he revived the National Space Council to coordinate all space activities across a whole-of-government approach. And it’s my great honor to serve as Chairman, as previous Vice Presidents have done.
We also looked beyond the halls of government for input and guidance, partnering with businesses represented here so well to accelerate innovation across the space enterprise.
And we’re honored to be joined this evening by several members of what we call our “User Advisory Group.” We thought it was imperative that we brought together the best and brightest men and women in the nation with expertise in the space enterprise. And these men and women have gathered from some of the most incredible companies in this country to bring their expertise. And they join us here today — members of the User Advisory Group. Would you join me in giving a round of applause for all the members of the UAG? (Applause.)
I got Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, the President of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration; Dr. Bud Peterson, the President of Georgia Institute of Technology; and Eric Stallmer, the President of Commercial Space Federation; and Mandy Vox [Vaughn], President of VOX Space. Give them all a round of applause because they’re helping to guide renewed American leadership in space. (Applause.)
And while we’re at it, I couldn’t help — I couldn’t help but take the opportunity to invite you to recognize some extraordinary people who are with us today. One was a veteran — one was a veteran of three different space shuttle missions. She’s now the Director of the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Join me in welcoming Astronaut Janet Kavandi, who is with us today. Janet, thank you. (Applause.)
We’re also joined by a member of that User Advisory Group, who is currently serving as the Director of Space and Technology at Nova Systems. Was the commander of Space Shuttle flights STS-120. Colonel Pamela Melroy, where are you? Astronaut and Colonel Pamela Melroy. (Applause.)
And finally, let me recognize a member of the crew of the final mission of the Space Shuttle. She’s spent more than 144 days in orbit, and she is an incredible testament to the American Astronaut Corps. Astronaut Sandy Magnus is with us here today. Sandy, thank you. (Applause.)
I’ve got to tell you the progress we’ve made. In December of 2017, as a result of the work of the National Space Council, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive-1, where we made it the policy of the United States of America to return to the moon with the goal of one day putting Americans on Mars. (Applause.)
And I’m proud to report we’re on track. This year, the United States will once again send American astronauts into space on American rockets, from American soil. (Applause.)
Just two months ago, during a meeting of the National Space Council down at “Rocket City,” in Huntsville, Alabama, it was also my privilege to announce what Jim Bridenstine just reflected on: that, at President Trump’s direction, it is the policy of the United States that we will return to the moon within the next five years, and the first woman and the next man on the moon will be an American. (Applause.)
So we’ve made great strides in advancing the President’s bold new vision for American leadership in space — to push us farther and faster and higher than ever before. And unlike in years past, we have the budgets to match. As Administrator Bridenstine just said, we just sent to Capitol Hill a budget request to put — would put real substance behind the President’s vision. And I want to thank these members of Congress for their stalwart support.
Well, as I started to come up here, Karen and I were chatting, and she reminded me that you all didn’t come here to hear me; you came here to see a movie. (Laughter.) So I want to get out of your way and let you enjoy that.
But it’s impossible to come to a moment like this, an evening like this, and not be incredibly inspired. And I want to thank the National Air and Space Museum again for your hospitality. I want to thank Administrator Bridenstine for the great work he’s doing at NASA.
And I want to thank all of you for the enthusiasm that all of you are showing. Everywhere I go in this country, people are getting it again. People understand that America has made great history leading human exploration in space.
But with your support, with President Trump’s leadership, with the strong support of these outstanding members of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, with the courage of a new generation of astronauts, and with God’s help, I know America will once again astound the world with how we lead in space.
So thank you very much. God bless you. And enjoy the movie. (Applause.)