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After Historic Launch, Sen. Cruz Speaks with Astronauts at Johnson Space Center

‘This launch is a powerful inspiration of what we can do when we come together’

June 1, 2020

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, on Sunday applauded astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on successfully completing the first launch into space from U.S. soil in nearly a decade and the first launch on a commercially-created spacecraft in American history.

WATCH: Sen. Cruz Speaks with US Astronauts after Docking at ISS

VIEW: Photos of Sen. Cruz at Johnson Space Center

Addressing the astronauts from Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas - the home of human space exploration - after safely docking their SpaceX Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, Sen. Cruz said:

"Congratulations gentleman, the eyes of the world are upon you, and everyone is proud of you. All of America is watching you and today and yesterday represent big, big days. We're looking at a decade since we've had American astronauts launched on an American ship from American soil. I can tell you I sat with my wife and kids in our living room watching on TV yesterday and I suspect we did what just about everyone watching did, including both of you, we just held our breathe as it took off. We're glad to see you've landed safely. We're glad to see you've docked."

Recognizing the unprecedented challenges and division facing the country right now, Sen. Cruz added:

"As a country we are in the midst of a tough week. We're seeing protests, we're seeing a lot of anger and we're seeing violence. I have to say, this launch and y'alls docking is a powerful inspiration of what we can do when we come together. Of the power of unity [and] the power of ingenuity."

As chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, Sen. Cruz has championed America's leadership in space. In 2016, Sen. Cruz introduced the NASA Transition Authorization Act, which was signed into law in 2017. The legislation made a serious commitment to the manned exploration of space and enabled commercial space ventures to flourish, as demonstrated by Saturday's launch.

Here's what news outlets are saying:

Houston Chronicle: Blast off! NASA has returned to the rocket-launching business, and with a welcome twist.
"The expansive vision of NASA as both a partner and a leader in manned space flight was given a key boost by the NASA Transition Authorization Act or 2017, a massive overhaul of the space program that was sponsored by Houston's Sen. Ted Cruz, an early champion of private space exploration. ‘This marks the renewal of our leadership in space, and the first time American astronauts are manning a commercially-created rocket,' Cruz told the editorial board, just ahead of launch. ‘Today's launch has been years in the making.'"

KTRK: Sen. Ted Cruz to SpaceX astronauts: 'Everyone is proud of you'
"Senator Ted Cruz shared a few words of encouragement with NASA's Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on Sunday after they successfully docked their SpaceX Dragon capsule with the International Space Station. ‘Congratulations gentlemen,' said Cruz. ‘The eyes of the world are upon you, and everyone is proud of you.' The two men are 250 miles above Earth, for a stay of up to four months, after which they will come home with a Right Stuff-style splashdown at sea, something the world hasn't witnessed since the 1970s. The crew successfully opened the hatch connecting the Dragon to the International Space Station about two hours after docking on Sunday."

CBS News: SpaceX Crew Dragon chalks up picture-perfect space station docking
"During the post-docking welcome aboard ceremony, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas asked the Crew Dragon astronauts ‘how does she handle?' ‘It flew just like it was supposed to,' Hurley said. ‘We had a couple of opportunities to take it out for a spin, so to speak (flying manually), and my compliments to the folks back at Hawthorne and SpaceX for how well it flew. It's exactly like the simulator, and we couldn't be happier about the performance of the vehicle.'"

Associated Press: SpaceX's historic encore: Astronauts arrive at space station
"Two Texas members of Congress at Johnson for the docking - Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Brian Babin - said the flight offered inspiration and hope during a particularly tough time of protests and pandemic. ‘Having it go off without a hitch was a tremendous blessing for our country,' Babin told the astronauts. Gleaming white in the sunlight, the Dragon was easily visible on NASA TV from a few miles away from the space station, its nose cone open and exposing its docking hook as well as a blinking light. Hurley and Behnken took over the controls and did a little piloting less than a couple hundred yards (meters) out as part of the test flight, before putting it back into automatic for the final approach."

ABC News: Dragon docks at International Space Station 19 hours after NASA-SpaceX launch
"Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was also on hand in Houston to congratulate the astronauts and asked them how the Dragon handled in space. ‘It flew just like it was supposed to,' Hurley said. ‘We had a couple of opportunities to take it out for a spin, so to speak, once after we got into orbit last night and again today about 20 minutes before we docked and my compliments to the folks back in Hawthorne [California] and SpaceX for how well it flew. It's exactly like the simulator and we couldn't be happier about the performance of the vehicle.' Cruz reminded the astronauts about the problems in the United States on the ground, referring to the violent protests stemming from the police-involved killing of African American George Floyd and the continuing battle against the coronavirus."

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