Introduction In 2008, I was touring Cape Canaveral and disembarked near the pad where the Apollo 1 accident occurred. Three American heroes died in a horrible fire on January 27, 1967. As I neared the location of the disaster, I noticed what appeared to be a wreath and American flag lying in the dirt, like it was debris. I was astonished to see our guide and the rest of the visitors walk by in oblivion. In anger, I stalked toward the wreath and flag and propped it upright onto its thin metal frame. My immediate thought was, “Is this what our space program has become?” However distant it becomes with each passing year, we must keep alive a certain memory. First is that of the tragedy of Apollo 1. Second—that of the Apollo 11 moon landing. And with that, the famous transmission, “Houston, Tranquil- ity Base here, the Eagle has landed.” This was done by Americans, with American ingenuity and, more importantly, with the kind of foresight we need today. As you are reminded of that day, July 24, 1969, remember that the space program and manned space exploration specifically are one of the many keys to America’s future, not only as a global superpower but also as the leading economy. The two cannot be separated, and neither of them will have a future without America leading the way. In the here and now, not in some murky future. It is precisely because of the numerous twists and turns in our economy, the threats posed by other great powers and rogue states, that this is the time for such a clarion call. This time needs to be capitalized on to advance the absolute need for a renewed American com- mitment to space. The country that makes this commitment will have a secure future.
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