New Jersey-born Aldrin will be here on 3 July to take part in a celebration honouring the 243rd American independence day and the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the US Embassy confirmed on Monday. Along with Ohioan Neil Amstrong, Aldrin was one of the first two humans to walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission. He will be among the special guests at the US Embassy celebration at the Philharmonie on Wednesday evening.
Calling Aldrin “a good friend” during a Monday press conference, US ambassador to Luxembourg Randy Evans added, “Even I get goosebumps when I think about having…Aldrin here in Luxembourg.”
Despite high interest from the public for a meet-and-greet opportunity with Aldrin, a spokesperson from the US Embassy has confirmed that such an engagement is not foreseen.
“Growing” bilateral relationship
“We’re pretty excited in that it will be something that Luxembourg has never seen before from the embassy,” Ambassador Evans said.
He was referring to the fact that, along with Aldrin, US house majority leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland (Dem.) and US senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi (Rep.) are among the guests slated to attend Wednesday’s event. They are among at least a dozen congress representatives expected to be in the grand duchy for this year’s 28th Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe parliamentary assembly (OSCE PA), taking place on 4-8 July.
Ambassador Evans estimated it was “the largest collection of senators and congressmen in Luxembourg, probably in the history of the country”, adding that the arrival of the guests of honour is a further “reflection of the growing relationship between Luxembourg and the US”.
“Another step forward”
The ambassador added that Aldrin’s visit, which will see him in town especially for the celebration hosted by the US Embassy before he heads out on Thursday to Paris, is “another major step forward” following the May signing of an MoU between the US and Luxembourg by US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross and Luxembourg deputy prime minister Etienne Schneider.
Schneider himself was recently in the US to attend the SPACE Enterprise Summit, an invitation extended to him by Ross and US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. During his visit, Schneider also met with Newt Gingrich, for whom Evans had previously worked as an advisor, as well as NASA administrator, Jim Bridenstine.
It has indeed been a busy week for all things space: on 28-30 June, a live broadcast took place for Asteroid Day 2019 which culminated in a family day at Cercle Cité where youngsters had a chance to meet astronauts, followed by a gala event with former astronaut Rusty Schweickart as the guest of honour.
This article was updated on 2 July with US Embassy spokesperson comment.