Radio Address to the Nation on the Space Program
My fellow Americans:
Three days ago in my State of the Union Message I spoke to you about taking on the challenge of America's next frontier, space, as one of four great goals for the eighties. Well, today I'd like to tell you more about that challenge, about how we can advance America's leadership in space through the end of this century and well into the next, and how, by reaching for exciting goals in space, we'll serve the cause of peace and create a better life for all of us here on Earth.
For a quarter of a century, we've moved steadily forward in the exploration and utilization of space, extending our knowledge of our solar system, our galaxy, and our universe. The space shuttle, our most recent advance in space technology, gives us routine access to space.
Just as the Yankee Clipper ships of the last century symbolized American vitality, our space shuttles today capture the optimistic spirit of our times. Our many achievements have proven that we can do much in space and that there's much more we must do to ensure that America lives up to her description—a land of hope and opportunity.
Our space goals will chart a path of progress toward creating a better life for all people who seek freedom, prosperity, and security.
Our approach to space has three elements. Let me discuss each of them briefly. The first is a commitment to build a permanently manned space station to be in orbit around the Earth within a decade. It will be a base for many kinds of scientific, commercial, and industrial activities and a steppingstone for further goals.
Scientists from NASA, universities, and private industry will do research in and around the space station—research that's only possible in the zero-gravity and vacuum of space. As needed, private industry will fund expansions of the NASA facility where companies can manufacture new products and provide new services.
But most importantly, like every step forward, a space station will not be an end in itself but a doorway to even greater progress in the future. In this case, a space station will open up new opportunities for expanding human commerce and learning and provide a base for further exploration of that magnificent and endless frontier of space.
International cooperation, the second element of our plan, has long been a guiding principle of the United States space program. The tricentennial of the first German immigration to America was celebrated last year with a joint space effort. Just as our friends were asked to join us in the shuttle program, our friends and allies will be invited to join with us in the space station project.
The third goal of our space strategy will be to encourage American industry to move quickly and decisively into space. Obstacles to private sector space activities will be removed, and we'll take appropriate steps to spur private enterprise in space.
We expect space-related investments to grow quickly in future years, creating many new jobs and greater prosperity for all Americans. Companies interested in putting payloads into space, for example, should have ready access to private sector launch services.
Transportation Secretary Elizabeth Dole will work to stimulate the private sector investment in commercial, unmanned space boosters. We need a thriving, commercial launch industry. NASA, along with other departments and agencies, will be taking a number of initiatives to promote private sector investment to ensure our lead over current and potential foreign competitors. So, we're going to bring into play America's greatest asset—the vitality of our free enterprise system.
We've always prided ourselves on the pioneer spirit that built America. Well, that spirit is a key to our future as well as our past. Once again, we're on a frontier. Our willingness to accept this challenge will reflect whether America's men and women today have the same bold vision, the same courage and indomitable spirit that made us a great nation.
The peaceful use of space promises great benefits to all mankind. It opens vast new opportunities for our industry and ingenuity. The only limits we have are those of our own courage and imagination. When President John Kennedy challenged America to go to the Moon, he said it would not be one person going but an entire nation putting him there.
Our space program has done so much to bring us together because it gives us the opportunity to be the kind of nation we want to be, the kind of nation we must always be—dreaming, daring, and creating.
Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.
Note: The President spoke at 12:06 p.m. from the Oval Office at the White House.
Ronald Reagan, Radio Address to the Nation on the Space Program Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/261173