In his State of the Union Address 35 years ago today, Ronald Reagan called on the U.S. to build an international space station within the decade. The first segment of the International Space Station (ISS) was launched in November of 1998, and the first crew arrived in November 2000, with a continuous human presence onboard the space station ever since.
In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to maximize its use for other U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector. With access to a permanent microgravity setting, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied environments of space, the ISS National Lab provides a platform unlike any on our planet to conduct valuable research to benefit life on Earth.
An upcoming webinar hosted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable will focus on how the ISS National Lab is available to government, academic, and commercial researchers who are interested in leveraging this unique platform for research and development (R&D) not possible from the ground. In the webinar, ISS National Lab Deputy Chief Scientist Michael Roberts and ISS National Lab Director of Scientific Partnering Ken Savin will discuss past, present, and future ISS National Lab R&D and the impacts such R&D has on Earth.
The Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable brings together senior representatives from government, universities, and industry to “define and explore critical issues related to the national and global science and technology agenda that are of shared interest.” The webinar will take place on Wednesday, January 30 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. There is no cost for the webinar, but registration is required. For more information and to register for the webinar, go here.
Ronald Reagan's Statement on an International Space Station
Below is an excerpt from Ronald Reagan's State of the Union Address on January 25, 1984:
Our second great goal is to build on America's pioneer spirit...and that's to develop that frontier. A sparkling economy spurs initiatives, sunrise industries and makes older ones more competitive.
Nowhere is this more important than our next frontier: space. Nowhere do we so effectively demonstrate our technological leadership and ability to make life better on Earth. The Space Age is barely a quarter of a century old. But already we've pushed civilization forward with our advances in science and technology. Opportunities and jobs will multiply as we cross new thresholds of knowledge and reach deeper into the unknown.
Our progress in space, taking giant steps for all mankind, is a tribute to American teamwork and excellence. Our finest minds in government, industry and academia have all pulled together. And we can be proud to say: We are first; we are the best; and we are so because we're free.
America has always been greatest when we dared to be great. We can reach for greatness again. We can follow our dreams to distant stars, living and working in space for peaceful, economic, and scientific gain. Tonight, I am directing NASA to develop a permanently manned space station and to do it within a decade.
A space station will permit quantum leaps in our research in science, communications, and in metals and lifesaving medicines which could be manufactured only in space. We want our friends to help us meet these challenges and share in their benefits. NASA will invite other countries to participate so we can strengthen peace, build prosperity, and expand freedom for all who share our goals.
Just as the oceans opened up a new world for clipper ships and Yankee traders, space holds enormous potential for commerce today. The market for space transportation could surpass our capacity to develop it. Companies interested in putting payloads into space must have ready access to private sector launch services. The Department of Transportation will help an expendable launch services industry to get off the ground. We'll soon implement a number of executive initiatives, develop proposals to ease regulatory constraints, and, with NASA's help, promote private sector investment in space.