As a boy in Northern Alabama, I grew up experiencing the wonder and excitement of the space program. The ground often shook beneath our family home from Saturn V rockets tested nearby. These were the same rockets that took Neil Armstrong to the moon when, on July 20, 1969, I and countless other young Americans watched with pride and wonder as Armstrong took his first steps on the lunar surface.
A little over a decade later, two brave astronauts left Earth’s orbit in the first shuttle, Columbia. It was humanity’s first reusable spacecraft. Since that day, the shuttle program has led to breakthrough technologies and innovation, inspired Americans to explore space and created a skilled, committed workforce that leads the world in scientific innovation.
NASA has been enormously successful in pursuing human space exploration. NASA technology and spin-offs have made America and the world a better place to live. Artificial hearts, life-saving defibrillators, cell phones, lasers, GPS systems, air purifiers and countless other NASA technologies shape our daily lives. NASA has not only led America to explore the depths of outer space, it has altered our individual space and brought us to a greater understanding of our world, our communities and ourselves.