13:25 GMT11 August 2020
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    Vice President Mike Pence visited and gave remarks at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on the 50th anniversary of humanity's first visit to the moon.

    During a speech, Pence announced the completion of NASA's Orion crew capsule for the first Artemis lunar mission.

    "Thanks to the hard work of the men and women of NASA, and of American industry, the Orion crew vehicle for the Artemis 1 mission is complete and ready to begin preparations for its historic first flight," Pence said.

    Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin, as well as Rick Armstrong, son of Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong, were among those who joined the vice president onstage.

    "Artemis 1 will launch NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System (SLS) rocket around the Moon to test the system and pave the way for landing the first woman and the next man on the Moon in five years, as well as future missions to Mars," NASA press release reads.

    According to the press release, the Orion crew module was recently completed at Kennedy Center.

    "The underlying structure of the crew module, known as the pressure vessel, was manufactured at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans and shipped to Kennedy, where teams have integrated thousands of parts into the crew module and conducted tests to certify all of its systems for flight," the statement reads.

    It was also announced that Orion’s European Service Module was completed, "manufactured by Airbus in Bremen, Germany."

    "Once the two modules are joined, engineers will install a heatshield backshell panel on the spacecraft and prepare it for a September flight inside the agency’s Super Guppy aircraft to NASA’s Plum Brook Station in Sandusky, Ohio. Testing at Plum Brook will ensure the joined modules can withstand the deep space environment."

    According to the statement, NASA's stated goal "is to return to the Moon in a sustainable way to prepare for the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars for the first time ever."

    "Through Artemis, the agency will establish a sustainable human presence at the Moon by 2028 to continue scientific research and discovery, demonstrate new technologies, and lay the foundation for future missions to Mars".

    The United States' Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to land on Earth’s only natural satellite. The landing took place on 20 July 1969. Between 1969 and 1972, the United States carried out six crewed landings on the Moon.

    Through the Soviet Union was the first country to send a human-made object to the Moon, which occurred on 13 September 1959. A crewed lunar program was canceled after several major rocket failures between 1969 and 1972.


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    Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Kennedy Space Center, anniversary, moon landing, Mike Pence
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