It's a great pleasure to be here at NASA's
The truth is, our space program doesn't invest in machines; it invests in people. And you don't only launch rockets, you launch dreams. This is the age of technology, but technology is only a tool. Ladies and gentlemen, you are the space program, and
And soon the world will be watching as five brave Americans lift off from Earth on the space shuttle Discovery.
Our early settlers knew great risks and made great sacrifices, but with their sacrifice, they moved the frontier forward and built a great nation. Neither can we stand still nor be content, and we're not afraid. Ill fortune can slow us down, but it can't stop us. You can delay our long trek to greatness, but you cannot halt it. How better can we pay tribute to those who came before us than by continuing their quest for knowledge, their struggle against limits, by continuing to push toward the far frontier?
And when we launch the space shuttle Discovery, even more than the thrust of Discovery's great engines, it will be the inspiring courage of our heroes and the hopes and dreams of every American that will lift the shuttle into the heavens. And may the hand of God bring it safely back to Earth.
And when the Discovery takes off, seven precious souls will soar beside it, the seven heroes of the Challenger. With their lives, they moved a nation. They summoned
And there's a place for everyone in this future: Technology does not leave people behind; it carries everyone along. I've seen throughout my life that as the technology advances it becomes easier to use, not harder; and the benefits become more universal. Today our satellites make it possible to watch the Olympic games live from
I believe the American people today are casting their eyes toward space with greater eagerness and anticipation than ever before. An entire generation is rediscovering their interest in space, the interest they had as children when -- in the 1960's, in grade schools throughout our country -- they watched on television, together, the lift-offs of Glenn and Shepard. And as for our young children, the children of the 1980's, well, I can tell from the letters they send me that they're ready to go and that the sky is not the limit.
A young author in
The commercial development of space will unleash a new age of entrepreneurship for companies large and small. There'll be new medicines, new materials, new products, and a communications revolution. The vibrance and creativity of the free market will plumb the full range of possibilities that lie ahead. The dramatic advances in technology mean that what today we can only dream of will be by tomorrow not only feasible but inevitable.
You know, back in
Audience members. Yes!
The President. It can be done!
Can we deliver a space shield to defend
Audience members. Yes!
The President. Can
Audience members. Yes!
The President. Yes, all these things can be done. We are a nation that can achieve great dreams. Somewhere in
And you and I know that we're the nation that must do it, because in the next century, leadership on Earth will come to the nation that shows the greatest leadership in space. It is mankind's manifest destiny to bring our humanity into space; to colonize this galaxy; and as a nation, we have the power to determine whether
I say that
Mankind's journey into space, like every great voyage of discovery, will become part of our unending journey of liberation. In the limitless reaches of space, we will find liberation from tyranny, from scarcity, from ignorance, and from war. We'll find the means to protect this Earth and to nurture every human life and to explore the universe. Let us go forward. This is our mission; this is our destiny.
One cold January day in 1986, I read part of a poem to a nation in grief. I want to leave you today with the rest of that poem because it's a poem about joy and about all the joyous endeavors. It is ``High Flight,'' by John G. Magee, Jr., an American pilot who flew with the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II. It goes:
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things You have not dreamed of -- wheeled and soared and swung High in the sunlit silence.
Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung My eager craft through footless halls of air . . .
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace, Where never lark, or even eagle, flew;
And, while with silent, lifting wings, trod the high untrespassed sanctity of space put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
I thank you. God bless you all, and God bless
Note: The President spoke at in Building 9A at the space center. He was introduced by James C. Fletcher, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Prior to his remarks, the President met with the crew of the ``Discovery'' and inspected the space shuttle training facility. The crewmembers were Capt. Frederick H. Hauck, USN, mission commander; Col. Richard O. Covey, USAF, mission pilot; and John M. Lounge; Lt. Col. David C. Hilmers, USMC; and George D. Nelson, mission specialists.