Ronald Reagan picture

Remarks by Telephone to Crewmembers on Board the Space Shuttle Discovery

November 15, 1984

The President. Hello.

Commander Hauck. Good morning.

The President. Good morning. Is this Rick?

Commander Hauck. Yes, sir. How you doing, Mr. President?

The President. Well, just fine. And you? It's good to hear your voice. I'd like to say hello to all the crewmembers and just tell you how proud we are of you and what has been accomplished.

Commander Hauck. Well, thank you, sir. It was a difficult task, but one that was fun and involved a lot of hard effort on a lot of people's parts, both here and on the ground.

The President. Well, can I just say, Joe, you and Dale deserve a lot of credit for retrieving those satellites. You know, we've got a little gym here at the White House, and I pump a little iron whenever I get the chance. But I don't know about that satellite lifting; maybe that'll become a new high-tech Olympic sport.

Seriously, what's it like to hoist one and hold a thousand-pound satellite?

Commander Hauck. A thousand-pound satellite up here weighs nothing at all.

The President. That should happen in my gym.

Rick, you and Dave and Anna were a great team keeping the Discovery right in position and working the Canadian arm during the retrieval operation. I guess you may have been a little busier than on previous flights, since you've been taking on some cargo.

Commander Hauck. Yes, sir, Mr. President, maybe a little bit. But, of course, all the missions are busy, and we all are always working hard.

The President. Well, Joe and Dale—how did the space backpack work for you? I guess—well, I'm sure it would have been hard to retrieve those satellites without it.

Astronaut Gardner. Mr. President, that man-maneuvering unit worked perfectly for both Joe on the first EVA and for myself on the second. The docking with the satellite and capture was exactly as we had trained to in simulators on the ground. It was a real pleasure doing it.

The President. Well, that's just great, and we were all keeping track, and everyone down here rooting and praying for you.

Anna, since this is your first flight, are there any surprises that you've encountered? And I couldn't help but wonder if you'd recommend a career as an astronaut to your daughter, Cristin?

Astronaut Fisher. Oh, that I would, Mr. President. The experience is just everything I expected, even more. Seeing the world below us, it makes you realize just how we're all just part of this world. It's a truly incredible experience, and I'm going to recommend it very highly.

The President. Well, that's wonderful.

Well, I just want you all to know how proud we are of what you've achieved on this mission. Our space program has reached another important milestone with your successful retrieval of those two satellites. You've demonstrated that by putting man in space, on board America's space shuttle, we can work in space in ways that we never imagined were possible. Bless you all.

Well, I have to go to work down here—

Commander Hauck. Thanks for your time, Mr. President. We have enjoyed your support in the past, and we look forward to your support in the future, sir.

The President. Well, you shall have it. I have to go to work down here on Earth. And I know you'll be finishing up to head back here tomorrow, so, have a safe return, and, I might add, a soft landing with those valuable satellites on board.

But just please know how proud all of us are of what you've done, and God bless you all.

Commander Hauck. Thank you, sir, very much.

The President. All right. Goodbye.

Commander Hauck. Bye-bye.

Note: The President spoke at 8:40 a.m. from the Residence at the White House.

The crewmembers included Frederick H. Hauck, Dale A. Gardiner, Anna L. Fisher, David M. Walker, and Joseph P Allen.

Ronald Reagan, Remarks by Telephone to Crewmembers on Board the Space Shuttle Discovery Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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