Bill Clinton photo

Remarks to the Staff of the Firing Room Prior to the Space Shuttle Discovery Launch in Cape Canaveral

October 29, 1998

Thank you very much. I have so many things to thank you for today. But among other things, I have to thank you for making the First Lady very happy, because about a year ago she said, "You know, we need to make a list of all the things we want to do before we leave office." I said, "Okay, what's on your list?" She said, "You have to take me to a space launch. I want to go."

We didn't have the courage to come here; we had confidence in you and pride in America and a conviction that our space program is good for the United States and good for the world. And I want to thank you today, because you made all of us terribly proud.

Let me also say that because of the intense interest in this, in the media and among ordinary citizens, the American people have had a unique opportunity today to see what you do, not just at the moment of launch but in the weeks and months and years that precede it, all the hard work and all the preparation. And now they will learn over the next few days all the things that are being done in space that advance not only our mission in space but the quality of our life here on Earth. And all of that, too, has been made possible.

The last thing I would like to say is, it has been immensely impressive and important to me to have the chance to work with NASA over the last 6 years and see the revolution which has been undertaken, so that now you can, on virtually the same budget you had 6 years ago, do 8 launches a year instead of 2 and continue to explore the outer frontiers of space. I thank you for all of that. America is very, very proud of you today.

Thank you, and God bless you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:42 p.m. in the Launch Control Center at the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

William J. Clinton, Remarks to the Staff of the Firing Room Prior to the Space Shuttle Discovery Launch in Cape Canaveral Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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