“The eagle has landed.” Historic words recorded as the first man ever — American Neil Armstrong — became the first man to walk on the moon. All week long, the nation has celebrated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s mission, and this week, the nation’s top lawmakers paused to acknowledge the role Mississippi has played in this, and other space missions, throughout the years.
Senator Cindy-Hyde Smith recalled her memories of his landmark moment as a young girl while on the Senate floor this week, giving credit to the role Hancock county’s Stennis Space Center played in ensuring the rockets could help land these first Americans on the moon. Senator Hyde-Smith pointed to Mississippi’s ongoing role in space exploration and technology.
Two well-known astronauts, Fred Haise, who was on board that fateful Apollo 13 mission, and Stuart Roosa, are from South Mississippi. Roosa’s daughter, Rosemary, a Biloxi resident, continues a program launched to plant moon seeds from one of her father’s space missions in every country worldwide.
And the overall mission continues here in Mississippi.
Earlier this month, Governor Phil Bryant announced the launch of two new projects here in Mississippi — a new economic development space initiative and the formation of the Mississippi National Guard Space Directorate, a space force that will help ensure Mississippi and America’s success in the field of space, and that will use space technology to develop defense and disaster response strategies.