Thirty Years of the NASA Shuttle Program

Today the crew of the final mission of the United States Space Shuttle Program will visit the White House. As we honor the brave crew, we can take the time to reflect on over 135 space shuttle flights over the 30 years of the NASA shuttle program and look with hope to America’s continued leadership in space exploration.

On this historic mission, the crew of STS-135 delivered parts, equipment, and supplies to the International Space Station.  While this mission marked the end of the space shuttle program, it does not mean the end for American innovation and leadership in space.

Just as we once dreamed of landing on the moon and watched in awe one small step for man in space, our goals and hopes to further space exploration have not declined. This country now has hopes of sending Americans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s. While this is a time of great change in space research, it also provides a tremendous opportunity. A public/private partnership will strengthen our ability to explore space and ensure that America continues to lead the world in exploration.

I congratulate shuttle commander Christopher Ferguson and his crew on a successful mission, and welcome what will most certainly be another giant leap for mankind in space exploration.