The world will be watching this launch, and I expect it will inspire some young boy or girl to want to journey into space. I want to work to ensure that possibility exists for them. As chairman of the Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee, I will work with Congress, NASA and the administration to clarify our goals and strategies, to monitor the agency's progress, and to help address the needs and challenges ahead. An informed public is the only means to garner support both throughout the nation and in the halls of Congress for a robust human spaceflight program. 


This nation went from a 15-minute suborbital flight in May of 1961 to the lunar surface in July 1969. That journey spanned several congresses, three presidential administrations, and was concurrent with civil unrest in our nation and the Vietnam war. The investment we made inspired the world by achieving our mission. NASA's history is built upon past achievement, but it thrives when looking forward. 

Godspeed to the crew of STS-135, and may their mission be a fitting bookend to this wonderful program. Their task is great -- to live up to the standards set by the crews before. But so too is the responsibility we have to build upon the 50 year legacy of NASA and our nation's human spaceflight program.