TODAY, October 1, 1968, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration celebrates its 10th birthday.
In the past decade, we have seen space science and technology assume a high-ranking position in human affairs. NASA's hundreds of spacecraft, manned and unmanned, have made detailed maps of the moon. They have discovered and measured the earth's trapped radiation belts. They have measured the temperature of Venus, and sent back remarkably clear close-up photographs of the surface of Mars. They have probed interplanetary space, charted the solar wind, and given us new information about the sun.
But not all of NASA's accomplishments have been out of this world. Satellites have given us a new look at the world's weather, warning us of storms and hurricanes, and saving lives and property. They have given us intercontinental television broadcasts, and broken down the technical barriers to worldwide communications. NASA has brought us advances in medical science, education, mapmaking, geology, transportation, and a host of other areas that promise a better life for us here on earth. Its intensive research and development efforts have given us new materials, products, and processes; raised our standards of reliability; and advanced managerial techniques. These advances, together with the useful facilities it has built, will be lasting national assets long after the moon landing is ancient history.
We have indeed come a long way. We have seen words and abstractions take on definition and meaning. We have seen early goals become realities; we have turned hopes into accomplishments. And today we pause in grateful tribute to the agency that has made all this progress possible.
We honor its leaders--men like Keith Glennan, Jim Webb, Bob Seamans, the late Hugh Dryden, and others not so well known, but just as dedicated.
We honor the Members of Congress who have backed the program in bipartisan fashion.
We honor the men and women on our college campuses who have used with such skill the new laboratory we call the satellite.
We honor our American industry which has enabled us to build such complex devices and equipment.
And we honor our brave astronauts--including those who have given their lives in the public service.
The Space Act declared that "... it is the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind."
Our program has been conducted openly, in the sight of the entire world. We have cooperated with other nations, and our achievements have been felt around the world.
In the years ahead--as in the past decade-our foremost motive is to make men wiser and life on earth more meaningful. And on the milestone of this rewarding effort, we renew our dedication to the guiding principle we expressed 10 years ago at NASA's launching: that our further mastery of space may continue to be "for the benefit of all mankind."