Good evening ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to be here, along with Administrator Bridenstine, distinguished members of Congress, and industry leaders to welcome you to this celebration of the 70th International Astronautical Congress.
I want to thank the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and my colleagues in the OES Bureau for all the work they’ve done in putting together this wonderful conference and for organizing tonight’s reception.
In what we call the “E Line” here at State, our mission is to promote American innovation and American workers at home and abroad. A key part of this mission is encouraging and engaging with industries which will define the future. Few capture the infinite possibilities of the future like the space industry.
As a native Floridian, I grew up watching space shuttles launches light up the sky from Cape Canaveral in the heart of the space coast. And this past July, I had the privilege of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission in my home state as part of a senior delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence.
Here at the Department, we’ve built strong relationships with many of the industry leaders in the room today and we look forward to continuing to strengthen these partnerships as we literally explore new worlds. Together, we are committed to expanding economic and scientific opportunities, here on Earth and far beyond.
As Vice President Pence said in his opening address this morning: “…the United States has always been a nation of restless pioneers, ever striving to explore uncharted lands, reach new horizons, and venture into the unknown, including efforts to expand the boundaries of human knowledge.”
And we continue. Transformational technology advances have resulted in a vibrant space economy already valued at 350 billion dollars. It has also generated thousands of sustainable American jobs and we expect the numbers to grow.
As the United States is actively committed to empowering researchers, scientists, and business leaders in our space industry, we’re fully prepared to engage in the nascent stages of this tremendous opportunity to shape the future.
In June, we welcomed our international friends and business leaders to the first Space Enterprise Summit, co-hosted by the Departments of State and Commerce.
The summit presented a valuable opportunity to bring together civil and commercial space leaders from around the world and discuss potential areas for collaboration as we are doing this week as well.
We are particularly honored to host the IAC here in Washington, D.C., as the Trump Administration has made the exploration of space a top priority.
As Vice President Pence noted this morning, “the President signed what came to be known as Space Policy Directive-1, making the national policy of the United States of America to return to the Moon and prioritize crewed missions to the lunar surface.”
Recent events demonstrate how much opportunity there is for everyone!
We just celebrated the first all-female space-walk – what a remarkable achievement!
In the near future, the Artemis program will see the first woman set foot on the Moon, where she will join the ranks of the brave women who dared to reach for the stars before her. And initiatives like Artemis will demonstrate new technologies and capabilities which will define the future of space exploration.
It’s quite fitting to hold tonight’s event here in the Benjamin Franklin room, not just because of its grandeur, but also because of its historic role in advancing an international space milestone.
It was here that the 1988 intergovernmental agreement for the International Space Station was signed signifying the joint pursuit of progress with our allies and partners, which continues today.
The International Space Station is a symbol of both the giant leap for mankind that continues since man first stepped on the moon and of the great things we can achieve when nations partner together.
I want to again thank AIAA for all your great work and thank everyone for attending this evening.
Now I would like to turn the podium over to someone for whom I have great respect and admiration. In addition to leading a company of more than 100,000 employees, she sits on the board of directors of DuPont, the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and she was the Chair of the Executive Committee of the Aerospace Industries Association. She has been a great friend of the Department and appeared earlier this year at our annual Chiefs of Mission conference. She is a role model for us all: the Chairman, President, and CEO of Lockheed Martin, Marilyn Hewson.