July 20, 2019 – Check against delivery
It is my distinct honor and privilege to be here this morning.
Today, we celebrate your contribution to the pinnacle of human accomplishment – the Apollo 11 Mission and the first humans to walk on the surface of the Moon fifty years ago.
On July 21, 1969, Australian space trackers played an integral role in the success of that mission.
The initial images of Neil Armstrong descending the ladder and setting foot on the Moon were supposed to be transmitted through NASA facilities in Goldstone, California.
But due to a technical oversight, these images were transmitted upside down, and we needed help.
And we needed it fast.
So we did what anyone would do under those circumstances – we turned to our closest friends and partners.
The space trackers who worked here at the Honeysuckle Creek Tracking Station, had a clean, live feed directly from the Moon.
And the best part?
They were right-side up!
In those last, critical moments, a switch was flipped and 600 million people across the world were able to share in this historic event.
If not for you, they would not have seen that iconic footage, nor would they have heard Neil Armstrong’s immortal words.
You were there for us when we needed you most, and for that we are eternally grateful.
Our close cooperation then has continued to flourish, in all facets of the U.S.-Australia alliance.
It remains a cornerstone in the relationship between our two nations.
Your efforts inspired a generation to think big.
You showed that through human ingenuity and hard work, we can accomplish what seems impossible.
Even now, 50 years later, your actions inspired the next generation of young people as they dream about exploring the deepest expanses of the cosmos.
The impact that you’ve made on science, space exploration, and human knowledge is beyond measure.
On behalf of the United States, we are grateful for your service. Thank you.