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04 February 1997
National Space Society Calls For Bold Plan In State Of Union Address

(Washington, DC -- February 4) In documents delivered recently to President Clinton, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and other members of Congress, the National Space Society has called for the President to recommit America to a manned exploration program beyond Earth's orbit as he delivers tonight's State of the Union Address.

The documents included an Open Letter signed by Apollo XI astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, former NASA Director of Mission Operations Gene Kranz, shuttle astronauts Charlie Walker and Byron Lichtenberg, actress Majel Roddenberry, heart surgeon Michael DeBakey, ABC's Hugh Downs, former National Space Council Executive Secretary Mark Albrecht and others. The Letter, accompanied by 2,000 electronic signatures from space advocates, urges the President to "immediately call for NASA to plan and implement a human mission to Mars."

"The State of the Union Address is the perfect opportunity for the President to reignite the public's imagination about the space program," said David Brandt, Executive Director of the National Space Society. "Our latest 'intelligence' is that there would be some mention of our nation's involvement with space in the Address. With the President's talk of 'building bridges to the future,' we'll be very disappointed if that mention doesn't make it through the final cut. We're not asking the President to provide all the answers tonight; we're asking him to be the leader who chooses to recommit NASA to its pioneering mission in human exploration by returning us to the Moon or making our way for the first time to Mars."

The National Space Society is actively tracking apparent dwindling interest within the Administration to hold an international, bipartisan Space Summit that had been called for by President Clinton following the Martian meteorite discovery last August. The advocacy group also registered objections to the diminished role of humans in space exploration described in the National Space Policy revised by the Clinton Administration late last year.

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Updated Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 15:23:11
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