Cape Canaveral, Florida - Remarks by Vice President Pence at Kennedy Space Center:

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, NASA! (Applause.) Hello, SpaceX! (Applause.) And hello, America’s future in space! (Applause.) To the Governor, to Leader McCarthy, to members of the House and Senate, members of the Cabinet and the Joint Chiefs, to Jim Bridenstine and the incredible men and women of NASA and SpaceX, it’s an honor and a joy for me to be here with the President of United States at Kennedy Space Center on the day we made history — (applause) — on the day American astronauts returned to space on an American rocket from American soil for the first time in nearly 10 years. You did it. (Applause.)

You know, for too long, the American space program was neglected and ignored. Those days are over. Under President Donald Trump, NASA is back and America is leading in space once again. (Applause.)

You know, it’s been more than 50 years since our nation first set out to leave this planet and land American astronauts on the Moon. Today, under this President, we begin a new mission: to return to the Moon and ultimately land American astronauts on the face of Mars. (Applause.)

You know, when the Apollo rockets leaped into the skies in the 1960s, they rose above the tumult and the clamor of their times. They were a symbol of national strength and unity.

And today, as states across the nation take their first steps to reopen and recover from an unprecedented pandemic and as our nation reels from the tragic death of George Floyd and violent protests of the past few days, I believe with all my heart that millions of Americans today will find the same inspiration and unity of purpose that we found in those days in the 1960s. (Applause.)

In America, every life matters. There’s no tolerance for racism or violence in the streets of this country. As the President has made clear, we will honor the memory of George Floyd, justice will be served, we will have law and order in our streets, and we will heal our land. And as the people of this country did so long ago, we will prove again that even in the most challenging times, Americans rise above. We always move forward, we overcome every obstacle, we reach new heights, and we reach them together. (Applause.) It’s true.

And in that spirit, today we begin a new era of human space exploration. And the credit goes to dedicated men and women all across this country, to the ingenuity and the hard work of the entire NASA team. America is proud of the men and women of NASA. (Applause.)

But for the first time in our history, our astronauts have taken to the skies on a commercial rocket built by America’s private sector. So join me in a vigorous round of applause for Elon Musk and the dedicated men and women of SpaceX. Job well done. (Applause.) That’s great. Well deserved. (Applause.) Thanks, Elon.

And of course, none of this would have been possible without the personal courage and the unflinching skill of two American astronauts.

One of them is an active duty colonel in the Air Force. He, like his crewmate, was accepted in the NASA Astronaut Corps in 2000; he served on several shuttle missions.

The other was the first Marine pilot to fly the Super Hornet, and he’s logged hours in more than 25 aircraft. In fact, his second flight was the very last space shuttle from American soil in July 2011.

So would you join me in giving a vigorous round of applause to Commander Bob Behnken and Commander Doug Hurley? We are proud of our American astronauts. (Applause.)

Because of their courage and your hard work, America is leading in space again. Today is the culmination of three and a half years of renewed leadership in space. It’s a tribute to our astronauts. It’s a tribute to ingenuity of the men and women of SpaceX and NASA.

But I’m here to tell you it’s also a tribute to the vision and leadership of a President who, from the very first days of this administration, was determined to revive NASA and American leadership in human space exploration. Today is a tribute to the leadership of President Donald Trump. (Applause.)

As the President said in his Inaugural Address, “We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space.” And that’s exactly what we’re doing.

The President revived the National Space Council after it laid dormant for 25 years. He brought together the best minds in and out of government to revive the American space enterprise.

We reformed the national space traffic management system. We streamlined regulations for the commercial use of space. And in 2017, President Trump made it the policy of the United States to return to the Moon by 2024 and ensure that the next man and the first woman to set foot on the Moon would be American astronauts. And we’re on our way. (Applause.)

And at the President’s direction, we won’t just go back to the Moon. Mission Artemis is going to take us to the Moon, and then America will make the next “giant leap,” and we’re going to land American astronauts on Mars. (Applause.)

So we’re leading again — for our prosperity, for our explorer spirit. But we’re also leading for the security of the American people. As nations around the world increase their investment in space, this President also took the decisive step to ensure that America remains as dominant in space as we are in land and air and sea when he created the first new branch of our Armed Forces in more than 70 years: the United States Space Force. (Applause.)

So the American people can be confident, after today’s history-making launch, that we’re just getting started. And under this President’s leadership, with the courage of our astronauts, the ingenuity of NASA and private partners like SpaceX, the support of the American people, and God’s grace, we will never stop pushing to reach new heights, to go farther and faster and higher than ever before. We will inspire the world as America leads humanity into the vast expanse of space for generations to come.

And now it is my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce to you the man whose vision and relentless leadership brought us to this historic day: the 45th President of the United States, President Donald Trump.