PRESIDENTS AND SPACE POLICY
Two weeks after Alan Shepard’s historic space flight in 1961, President Kennedy addressed a Joint Session Of Congress. The President said “ I believe this nation should commit itself before this decade is out, to land a man on the moon, and return him safely to the earth.” This address was a clarlain call for the nation. Soon after this address NASA and Nation started the process of making Kennedys words become a reality, that dream would become reality on a hot summer night in 1969.
Soon after that great accomplishment President Nixon reduced the number of planned landings on the moon, and signed a new directive that would lead to the development of the Space Shuttle.
President Ford and Carter had little or no impact on the Space program during their time in office.
The Reagan administration saw the first flight of the Space Shuttle, and in 1982 the announcement of a new space policy that would launch the commercial space effort, during his term in office the Space Station Freedom program began, which years later would become the International Space Station, and International cooperation.
In 1989 the twentieth anniversary of Apollo 11, On the steps of the National Air and Space Museum President George H.W. Bush announced “From the voyages of Columbus – to the Oregon Trail – to the journey to the Moon itself – history proves that we have never lost by pressing the limits of our frontiers.” Bush’s policy would have returned men to the moon by the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in 2019, after numerous reviews, the policy was deemed to be to expensive, even with international partners.
During President Clinton’s term and with the assistance of then Johnson Space Center Director George Abbey a partnership with Russia was started that would lead to Shuttle flights to the Mir Space Station providing a testbed for NASA to learn how to live and work on a space station for an extended period of time.
This week President Trump will issue directive #4 establishing the creation of a Space force. Will these series of directives lead to change in our industry or just another missed opportunity, only time will tell.