Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin has made a surprise appearance at the State of the Union, as President Trump promised to resume the U.S. manned space program.
One of the first two humans to step foot on the moon, Aldrin was introduced near the beginning of the address, after three D-Day veterans were honored by the president.
‘In 2019, we also celebrate 50 years since brave young pilots flew a quarter of a million miles through space to plant the American flag on the face of the moon,’ Trump said.
‘Half a century later, we are joined by one of the Apollo 11 astronauts who planted that flag, Buzz Aldrin.
‘Thank you, Buzz. This year, American astronauts will go back to space on American rockets.’
Aldrin, wearing an American flag tie, stood and saluted the House chamber to thunderous applause after the introduction.
Trump publicly proposed a Space Force in March 2018 as a sixth branch of the United States Armed Forces.
Aldrin supported the initiative in a tweet in August, after a new law was passed to re-establish the U.S. Space Command.
‘One giant leap in the right direction,’ Aldrin wrote.