|January 31, 2023Â
VP Awards Former NASA Astronauts Congressional Space Medal of Honor
Former NASA astronauts Robert Behnken, left, and Douglas Hurley, right, are seen after being awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor by Vice President Kamala Harris during a ceremony in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023 in Washington. Former astronauts Behnken and Hurley were awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor for their bravery in NASAâs SpaceX Demonstration Mission-2 to the International Space Station in 2020, the first crewed flight as part of the agencyâs Commercial Crew Program.
Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky
On behalf of President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris awarded former NASA astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken the Congressional Space Medal of Honor Tuesday for their bravery in NASAâs SpaceX Demonstration Mission-2 (Demo-2) to the International Space Station in 2020. Hurley and Behnken are the first recipients of the honor since 2006 and accepted the awards during a televised event in Washington.
âBob and Doug, together, have written the first page of a new chapter in the history of American spaceflight,â said Harris, who chairs the National Space Council. âBob and Doug represent the best of our nation â thereâs no question about it. The courage; the commitment; the brilliance; the vision; the ability to see and understand what is possible and then to go for it, represents the best of who we are as a nation.â
The Congressional Space Medal of Honor was authorized by Congress in 1969 to recognize an astronaut who in the performance of duties has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious efforts and contributions to the welfare of the nation and humanity. The honor now has been awarded to 30 people, including the crews of the Apollo 1, Challenger, and Columbia disasters who received the award posthumously.
âThe American story is about innovation, exploration, and pioneers who forge ahead. And Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken represent the American story,â said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. âWhen Doug and Bob launched into history, a new era of human spaceflight took flight. The Demo-2 mission showcased American leadership and technological ingenuity and inspired countless minds to dare to dream to fly among the stars. Congratulations to Doug and Bob on this well-deserved honor!â
On May 30, 2020, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the companyâs Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off to the space station, marking the first mission to launch with astronauts as part of NASAâs Commercial Crew Program. Demo-2, a mission more than a decade in the making, was the first time American astronauts had launched from American soil on an American rocket since the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.
To learn more about NASAâs Commercial Crew Program visit: