To Moon and back: president receives Polish flag from Apollo-15

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda was gifted by an American delegation with the Polish flag, which made a Moon landing aboard Apollo-15 in 1971, during Tuesday's opening of the 27th International Defence Industry Exhibition (MSPO) in the southeastern Polish city of Kielce.

According to Tom Kallman, representative of the US national stand at the MSPO, the gift has a symbolic value.

“In 1971, Colonel Worden flew a Polish flag with him aboard Apollo-15 to the Moon and back,” said Mr Kallman, adding that “today, 48 years later on behalf of all US participants in the MSPO 2019 the US delegation is honoured to present this to you as a sign of our continued support and partnership with Poland.”

Alfred Merrill Worden, Apollo-15 command module pilot, elaborated on the importance of the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus’ research for the world of space science.

“I think it is fair to state that without the wisdom of that great Polish astronomer, scientist, philosopher, visionary Nicolaus Copernicus our space program and none of us might be where we are today. He was an exceptional man,” said Mr Worden.

Apart from Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, the US Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher and the Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak took part in the opening ceremony of the MSPO.

Precious security

Mr Błaszczak said that he will sign the 15-year Polish army technological modernisation plan this autumn, adding that the great economic outcomes of Poland allowed its government to lay a formal and financial foundation for the dynamic development of the army.

The minister added that the army modernisation scheme until 2026 is worth a staggering and unprecedented PLN 185 bn (EUR 42 bn) and is by PLN 45 bn (EUR 10 bn) larger than the previous scheme. Mr Błaszczak also added that Poland filed a request for quotation with regard to the purchase of US fire-and-forget anti-tank man-operated Javelin missiles.

The MSPO hosts over 600 companies representing 31 countries. Half of the companies came from abroad. This year, the special national stand was occupied by the US which is showing a full-size mock-up of the F-35A Lightning II fighter jet that Poland is interested in buying.

The MSPO will conclude on Friday and, traditionally, on the weekend of September 7-8, the expo halls will be made available to the public.