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Congratulating Nasa on the 25th Anniversary of the First Flight of the Space Transportation System

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. HALL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first flight of the Space Shuttle

On April 12, 1981, Commander John Young and Pilot Robert Crippen launched from the Kennedy Space Center in the Space Shuttle Columbia. Their successful 3-day test flight of the manned, reusable spacecraft marked the beginning of a long career for the Space Shuttle that continues today.

Because of the design of the Shuttle, the spacecraft is uniquely qualified to help America build and supply the International Space Station. As we work with our international partners to complete the Space Station, the Shuttle will help us achieve that goal. For 25 years, the men and women of our Shuttle program have done a remarkable job returning the Shuttle to flight year after year to continue America's prominence in space. This resolution not only commends the first flight of the Shuttle, but it also recognizes and honors these dedicated citizens who work every day to this singular goal.

The Shuttle has seen glory and it has seen tragedy. The loss of Challenger and Columbia remind us that space travel is difficult and dangerous. Astronauts are today's Columbuses and Magellans--and their mission is a fragile and dangerous one. And yet, the Space Shuttle program continued on because of the men and women dedicated to the important work of the space program--work that benefits all sectors of society and improves the quality of all our lives.

America now has a new Vision for Space Exploration. We have already achieved the first step in the new Vision for Space Exploration when the Space Shuttle returned to flight last summer. Commander Eileen Collins and her crew successfully executed the 14-day mission into outer space and delivered more than 6 tons of needed supplies to the Space Station. Like many of my colleagues, I am eagerly anticipating the Shuttle's next flight this summer.

I am also looking forward to our next step in the process--the development of a new vehicle to replace the Shuttle. We need to make sure that the transition between these two spacecrafts is as seamless at possible because we cannot afford to lose the very specialized and highly valued Shuttle workforce. We also need to make sure that the new spacecraft includes a crew escape system because our astronauts deserve to be as safe as possible. I am pleased that NASA will require this system on the new crew exploration vehicle, and I will be continuing to monitor that development.

America leads the world in space exploration, and this is due, in large part, to the men and women of the Space Shuttle program. And this is only the beginning. With astronauts like the ones who traveled over the years on the Space Shuttle, and specialists and staff at NASA, America will continue to push frontiers and lead the world in space exploration and discovery.


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