Thursday, December 28, 2006

RIP: President Gerald R. Ford

As the nation pauses to remember the late President, who died this week at 93, it is worth remembering that he was a member of the House Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration which, in 1958, helped draft the Space Act that created NASA. While the brevity of Ford's term and the economic conditions at the time meant he made no major changes in the space program, he always supported space exploration. American space achievements during his time as President included the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission, the landing of two Viking spacecraft on Mars, and the opening of the National Air and Space Museum.

COMMENT: I met Ford once, as he accepted an invitation to address our Air Force ROTC dinner when I was in college in 1977. He seemed genuine, straightforward, friendly, and relaxed: truly a man who, in Kipling's phrase, "can walk with kings / nor lose the common touch."

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