Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday introduced the Congressional House Medal of Honor to 2 former NASA astronauts on the White Home.
Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken have been awarded the medals for his or her “bravery in NASA’s SpaceX Demonstration Mission-2 (Demo-2) to the Worldwide House Station in 2020,” NASA mentioned in a information launch. The ceremony marked the primary Congressional House Medal of Honors awarded since 2006.
“For the primary time in practically 17 years, we award the very best civilian honor that our nation can bestow upon our astronauts,” Harris mentioned on the ceremony within the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Govt Workplace Constructing, the place buddies, household and house trade leaders gathered to rejoice the 2 males.
“Bob and Doug collectively, have written a brand new chapter within the historical past of American house flight,” she added. “By their ingenuity, and bravado, they’ve helped rebuild America’s bridge to low earth orbit and to the worldwide House Station.”
The pair piloted the first crewed launch for SpaceX as a part of NASA’s inaugural Business Crew Mission to the Worldwide House Station in 2020 – the primary astronauts to launch to orbit from the US in practically a decade and to man a capsule reaching orbit constructed and launched by the personal sector. 5 crewed missions have been launched to the ISS carrying 13 American and seven worldwide astronauts for the reason that 2020 launch, together with one wherein Behnken’s spouse, astronaut Megan McArthur, sat in the identical seat he had a 12 months earlier than.
“By partnering with business firms to advance their house capabilities, these two, and these households, have enabled NASA to deepen its deal with exploration, to put money into the primary business house stations, to return American astronauts to the moon via the Artemis program, to go to Mars, and past,” mentioned Harris, who chairs the Nationwide House Council as a part of her portfolio.
“Within the coming years, there isn’t a doubt a whole lot of individuals will fly to orbit within the capsule that they helped to check and construct,” the vice chairman continued.
Hurley, who served within the Marines, and Behnken, who served within the Air Power, have been each army take a look at pilots earlier than they joined NASA in 2000. The house company has an extended historical past of choosing take a look at pilots, who spend a whole lot of hours flying round in experimental supersonic plane, to be astronauts.
The award acknowledges “any astronaut who within the efficiency of his duties has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious efforts and contributions to the welfare of the nation and mankind.” It has been awarded to twenty-eight individuals, together with 17 posthumously, because it was licensed by Congress in 1969, based on a White Home official.
This story has been up to date with further developments Tuesday.
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