50 Years After Apollo 11 Moon Landing, America Is Once Again Asserting Leadership in Space

COMMENTARY Space Policy

50 Years After Apollo 11 Moon Landing, America Is Once Again Asserting Leadership in Space

Jul 19th, 2019 1 min read
COMMENTARY BY
Kay Coles James

President of The Heritage Foundation

James is a leader in government, academia and the conservative movement.
Aldrin is shown standing beside the United States flag. Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing mission, was launched on 16th July 1969 Science & Society Picture Library/Getty

Most people thought it was only in the realm of science fiction that a human being could ever set foot anywhere other than Earth.

The moon landing opened a new chapter in human history and a new frontier for exploration that would end up benefiting all humankind. The Apollo missions would lead to new technologies in communications, navigation, weather, and electronics, as well as fantastic medical advances.

The moon landing demonstrated what free people—free to exercise their talents and their ingenuity—are capable of.

History will remember that the first people to set foot on another celestial body were also the freest people on Earth. The Apollo landings were the combined achievement of industry and a relatively young government, of America the nation and Americans as individuals.

The moon landing once again proved that America could set an ambitious goal and pull together all the resources, the brilliant minds, and the unwavering determination of the American people to achieve it.

Now, 50 years after Apollo 11, the Trump administration has sounded a call to reassert American leadership in space, announcing the goal of putting a long-term American presence on the moon just five years from now, with both the public and private sectors working together to achieve it.

A presence on the moon could lead to new scientific research that benefits from being outside Earth’s atmosphere as well as new energy possibilities that take advantage of elements that are rare on earth but abundant on the moon.

My hope is that once again, American ingenuity, determination, and our tradition of pushing ourselves to ever higher heights will lead to exciting new discoveries that can benefit this nation and all humankind.