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Hall Pays Tribute To Apollo 11 Astronauts On 40th Anniversary Of Moon Landing

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Hall Pays Tribute To Apollo 11 Astronauts On 40th Anniversary Of Moon Landing

...In a ceremony today on Capitol Hill, Congressman Ralph Hall (TX-4) paid tribute to the celebrated astronauts of Apollo 11 and the 40th anniversary of the Moon Landing on July 20, 1969. Today's recognition followed last evening's passage by the House of Representatives of a Resolution sponsored by Congressman Hall, the Ranking Member of the Science and Technology Committee, and co-sponsored by Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Member Pete Olson (TX), Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (TN) and Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Gabrielle Giffords (AZ).

H. Res. 607 honors the crew of Apollo 11 - Mission Commander Neil A. Armstrong, the first human to walk on the Moon, Lunar Module Pilot Edwin E. ‘‘Buzz'' Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon; and Command Module Pilot Michael Collins - along with all those individuals and organizations who contributed to one of the most significant events of the twentieth century - landing on the Moon.

Today, Congressman Hall stressed the importance of the space exploration program to a gathering of dignitaries and supporters in the Cannon Caucus Room. "America's economic, educational and technological strength can benefit from a clear, challenging, and adequately funded human space flight goal," Hall said. "We must not default on our vision for space."

"If we lose our vision, we lose a sophisticated workforce; we lose world leadership; we lose world partners; and we could lose a space station that might spawn a cure for cancer," Hall stated. "We must not permit other nations to take away our leadership in exploration and research and our ability to defend our nation from space. We cannot afford to lose."

Yesterday, in support of the Resolution that he introduced, Hall made the following remarks:

"The Apollo 11 Moon landing was the culmination of years' worth of experience, and the combined efforts of tens of thousands of engineers, scientists, and other devoted individuals and organizations that were committed to accomplishing the task that had been set upon them eight years before.

"This successful landing was one of the most significant and important events of the twentieth century. It inspired an entire generation to strive towards great accomplishments in space, as well as on Earth. It resulted in the greatest increases in science and engineering enrollments at our colleges and universities. It continues to inspire new generations as we prepare to journey back to the Moon and beyond, to other destinations in our solar system.

Hall is a longtime supporter of space exploration and of NASA. He is the only Member of the House to serve as Ranking Member of the Science and Technology Committee as both a Republican and previously as a Democrat. Hall has written several Op-Ed pieces in support of NASA and is a member of the House Action Team, a bipartisan group of House members dedicated to promoting NASA and keeping the vision of space exploration alive.

Last week Hall wrote an Op-Ed piece published in The Hill,­ a Capitol Hill publication. The following are excerpts:

"Forty years ago the world watched in wonder as American astronauts blazed through Earth's atmosphere into outer space and landed on the Moon, the first time in history that humans set foot on another celestial body. But today, with the economy floundering and the national debt soaring into the stratosphere, some may suggest that we simply cannot afford to sustain human space exploration. I would argue just the opposite.

"Throughout its 40-year history, our space program has set goals that required innovation and technology yet to be developed, and the results have been astonishing.

"The one-half of one percent of the national budget devoted to NASA may be the best investment we make, providing for long-term, high-dividend research and technology breakthroughs. Economic growth is driven by technological innovation, and space exploration fuels this innovation.

"It takes courage, desire and vision to explore the unknown. And it takes national leadership at all levels. We must not default on our vision for space or permit other nations to take away our position of leadership at the forefront of exploration and research. That leadership translates into economic opportunities, national security, secure manufacturing jobs and an increased standard of living for all Americans.

"When history is written, America will be recognized for one of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, and one of the most thought-provoking human triumphs of all time. . . NASA is one of our best success stories and deserves our enthusiastic support. Now is not the time to reduce our goals or expectations. Now is the time to set the bar higher."

Hall noted that some of the unexpected breakthroughs produced through the space program were satellite technology, GPS navigation systems, bone-density measurements, miniaturized heart pumps, water filtration systems, wireless light switches, and sensors on robots used in Afghanistan and Iraq to deal with improvised explosive devices. "The list goes on and on."

"We need to continue to promote an ambitious goal for manned space exploration," Hall stressed. "America's space and technological preeminence in the world hangs in the balance."

Congress also passed the New Frontier Congressional Gold Medal Act that awards Congressional Gold Medals to the three Apollo 11 Astronauts as well as to John Herschel Glenn, Jr., the first American to orbit the Earth. Glenn attended today's events along with the three Apollo 11 Astronauts.

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