NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Apollo 11 45th Anniversary Message

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Building on Apollo 11 for the Next Giant Leap

This month, our nation will mark the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon – a remarkable American accomplishment and a “giant leap” for humankind. Today, at NASA, we’re working on the next giant leap – a human mission to Mars, standing on the shoulders of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

As I near the end of my fifth year as NASA administrator, I take great pride in the many amazing things our nation’s space program continues to accomplish. From an incredible five Earth science missions heading to space this year, to the first flight test of the Orion spacecraft that will one day carry astronauts to Mars and the continued success of our commercial partners in their missions to the International Space Station (ISS), we’re building on the Apollo program’s legacy to test and fly transformative, cutting-edge technologies today for tomorrow’s missions.

Around this 45th anniversary, we look ahead on our path to Mars and the milestones within our grasp. We’re treading that path with a stepping stone approach that takes the extraordinary work our crews have been doing aboard the Space Station for more than 13 years preparing us to travel farther into our solar system. Technology drives exploration, and we’ll be testing new technologies in the proving ground of deep space on our mission to an asteroid, eventually becoming Earth independent as we reach Mars.

Just this past week we were pleased that one of our private sector partners, Orbital Sciences, once again successfully launched a cargo mission to the ISS from U.S. soil. Along with another commercial partner, SpaceX, they’ve demonstrated with their Cygnus and Dragon spacecraft, respectively, that American industry can help us reach low Earth orbit and create good jobs and value for NASA at the same time. Later this year, we plan to award commercial contracts for transporting our astronauts to space from American soil by 2017, ending our reliance on others to get into space and freeing up scarce resources to focus on our even bolder Mars mission.

Our science missions also continue to turn science fiction into science fact. Today in Washington, we are hosting a public event, “The Search for Life in the Universe,” about our work on one of the most fundamental questions in exploration, “Are we alone?” Top scientists will share insights on how close we are to answering that question, what we know today from NASA missions and what we may find out soon.

In September, MAVEN arrives at Mars to study the planet’s upper atmosphere even as Curiosity and Opportunity continue to rove the surface and help prepare us for human missions to the Red Planet. Next year New Horizons arrives at Pluto and the year after, Juno arrives at Jupiter, even as we prepare our next Great Observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope, for launch in 2018 to peer back at the oldest light in the cosmos.

You can see that today’s astronauts, scientists and engineers continue to be inspired by the Apollo 11 mission. I’m proud and privileged to head a space agency that is accomplishing so much today with the legacy of the Apollo 11 crew and the thousands of ground support personnel who facilitated their success. As the world’s leader in exploration, we have so much to look forward to in the coming years.

Below is a link to a video I recorded about my personal remembrances of the first moon landing. I’m sure every one of you who was old enough also remembers exactly where you were at the time.

In the spirit of this brave crew, we look forward to a new generation of NASA achievements in space.

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10 Comments

  1. Well said, sir. I was a 7 year old space-mad boy in the UK and the Apollo 11 moonwalk was in the early hours of the morning, our time. So I didn't actually get to see the first small step live. But I remember well the Apollo missions, and watched other moonwalks. They were exciting times and it seemed that anything was possible. 

  2. ~ much as it was with Administrator Charles Bolden, only Apollo 13 live ( + distance delay ) caught my duck & suggested a way forward form the homo sapien condition, being pre-occupied at the time with Mutually Assured Destruction which was maturing on the other " TV channel ", it struck me that serving life was the SouLution to natural & self extinction and suddenly the struggle pointed somewhere living out into our Universe
    = always very pleasing to know their are many others interested in serving life in such a manner; carry on serving life to Mars then friends, hope to meet you " part way there " & continue to assist in every way conceivable as feasible, it takes a world working in common direction contemplatively to migrate outwards
    + P.S. if anyone has convenient contact with former N.A.S.A Astronaut Susan Jane Helms (born February 26, 1958) retired lieutenant general, let here know some craigslist spammers are impostering her likeliness & using it in a apparent dating scam email spam ( copy of evidence is available to any concerned ); thanks kindly for your intervention 

  3. Constantly awed by the work done by the talented men and women of the space programmes around the world. I'm always wondering when I'll be watching the first person set foot on Mars, doubtless it'll be as thrilling as when people watched the moon landing live!!!

  4. NASA, Congratulations on your 45th Anniversary of landing on Earth's Moon and for keeping to advance Human endeavor beyond the bounds of planet Earth within the finite budget you have been accorded.

  5. Congrat's Mike, Buzz and Niel.
    The Day is forever etched in my mind. Well, for as long as i live, anyway :0). I was woken up by my Dad, at 7am and rushed to our nighbours house, to watch Niel stepping out of Eagle, on to the Moon.
    I was 12 years old, and pretty drowsy, being on Scandinavian time. The pictures was grainy and Black 'n White, but i have the whole thing as a little Movie in my mind. Thank you Guys.

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