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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

NASA Pays Tribute To President Ford

NASA paid its own tribute to the 38th U.S. president, noting that as a congressman on the House Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration, Gerald Ford in 1958 helped draft the original Space Act that gave NASA its charter, and was always a stalwart supporter of the space program.

Ford died last week at the age of 93. Ford was president from 1974 through 1977.

The space agency notes that on the occasion of of the U.S. bicentennial in 1976, Ford himself said, "As we celebrate our bicentennial year of independence, the great American adventure continues. The hallmark of that adventure has always been an eagerness to explore the unknown, whether it lay across an ocean or a continent, across the vastness of space or the frontiers of human knowledge. Because we have always been ready to try new and untested enterprises in government, in commerce, in the arts and sciences and in human relations, we have made unprecedented progress in all of these fields…the American adventure is a continuing process … As we being our third century there is still so much to be done."

During his presidency, Ford celebrated the successful Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission, predicting "the day is not far off when space missions made possible by this first joint effort will be more or less commonplace."

Ford also saluted the landings of the twin Viking robotic explorers on Mars, saying on the occasion of the first landing, "Our achievements in space represent not only the height of technological skill, they also reflect the best in our country—our character, the capacity for creativity and sacrifice, and a willingness to reach into the unknown."

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