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Tuesday 20 August 2019

Trump meets Apollo 11 astronauts on 50th anniversary of moon landing

Mr Trump told them ‘we are bringing the glamour back’ to the space programme.

Donald Trump with Apollo 11 astronauts Michael Collins, left, and Buzz Aldrin, right, and Eric ‘Rick’ Armstrong, son of Neil Armstrong, second from left, with Vice President Mike Pence and first lady Melania Trump (Alex Brandon/AP)
Donald Trump with Apollo 11 astronauts Michael Collins, left, and Buzz Aldrin, right, and Eric ‘Rick’ Armstrong, son of Neil Armstrong, second from left, with Vice President Mike Pence and first lady Melania Trump (Alex Brandon/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

President Donald Trump marked the 50th anniversary of the first human steps on the moon at an Oval Office meeting Friday with former Apollo 11 astronauts.

Flanked by Buzz Aldrin, Mike Collins and the family of mission commander Neil Armstrong in the Oval Office, Mr Trump was briefed on his administration’s plans to send astronauts back to the moon and on to Mars, as well as advances in commercial spaceflight and the reusability of space systems.

“We are bringing the glamour back” to the space programme, Mr Trump said at the event, where he was joined by First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine.

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Donald Trump receives a gift from Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin (Alex Brandon/AP)

Mr Trump directed Mr Bridenstine to listen to the “other side” of his Mars exploration plan, referencing concerns by some that the most efficient way to the red planet does not begin with a lunar visit.

Nasa’s current plans include a moon as a celestial stepping-stone to Mars.

Mr Aldrin told Mr Trump he was disappointed that even more advancements have not been made in space over the last decade.

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Donald Trump shakes hands with Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins (Alex Brandon/AP)

Mr Aldrin and Mr Armstrong, who died in 2012, made history when they landed on the moon 50 years ago Saturday, as Mr Collins orbited overhead in their command module.

Vice President Mike Pence will mark the anniversary Saturday with a visit and speech at the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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