General Bolden said, “It is my great pleasure to be back here in Hanoi.  I visited once as NASA Administrator, and I’m thrilled to return again, as a US State Department Science Envoy for Space. I am here this week promoting space exploration and the commercialization of space, as well as international cooperation in science and technology.”

Major General Charles Frank Bolden, Jr. and Vietnamese cosmonaut, Lieutenant General Pham Tuan present their portraits serving as astronauts to their host, Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink, at their meeting.

Envoy Bolden first met with the President of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), Professor Châu Văn Minh.  After, he also met with the leadership of Vietnam’s National Space Center (VNSC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to discuss strategies and experiences in managing and developing space programs, building museums, educating students and community members, and finding opportunities for collaboration with the United States. While at VNSC, General Bolden also gave an inspirational talk about career opportunities in space science and technology with students and faculty from the University of Science and Technology of Hanoi (USTH), Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST), and Vietnam National University (VNU).

In a separate visit to Hoa Lac Hi Tech Park outside of Hanoi, General Bolden continued to promote career opportunities in space with a talk to high school students at VNSC’s new planetarium.  While there, VNSC leaders gave General Bolden a tour of their observatory and the building next to the planetarium that will eventually house their space museum.

At the American Center Hanoi, General Bolden talked about space exploration to university students and young professionals who also had the opportunity to experience space through virtual reality.

In a special luncheon hosted by US Ambassador Daniel J. Kritenbrink, General Bolden had the opportunity to meet Cosmonaut Pham Tuan, the first Vietnamese citizen to travel to space.  The two men share an extraordinary history, as both men served as pilots during the war in Vietnam, explored space as astronauts, and became generals in their respective militaries.

General Bolden’s visit to Vietnam occurs during a yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing.  United States Astronaut and Apollo 11 Commander, Neil Armstrong, became the first man to step on the Moon on July 21, 1969.  Bolden highlighted this achievement during his keynote address at the US Embassy’s Independence Day celebration, challenging the audience to continue that tradition of exploration and risk-taking but within the peaceful context of cooperation.

He stated, “We never sought ownership or conquest of space in our race to the moon.  Nor do we seek it now.  Instead, we seek strong, committed partners such as Vietnam whose space program, like ours, reflects the ambitions of a nation and a willingness to accept the risks of exploration that we Americans so admire.” 

As US Science Envoy for Space, Major General Charles Bolden, Jr., has been traveling the world on behalf of the US Department of State to promote bilateral science and technology partnerships in space exploration with a special emphasis on commercial space opportunities.

General Bolden served as the 12th Administrator of NASA, where he oversaw the safe transition from 30 years of Space Shuttle missions to a new era of exploration focused on full utilization of the International Space Station and technology development. General Bolden’s 34-year career with the Marine Corps included 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office during which he traveled to space four times aboard the Space Shuttle between 1986 and 1994, commanding two of the missions and piloting two others.

Reported by Song Anh