Bolden and Beggs to Discuss Past and Future of Human Spaceflight

Bolden and Beggs to Discuss Past and Future of Human Spaceflight

Current NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and former NASA Administrator James Beggs will discuss the past 30 years of the space shuttle program and what lies ahead for human spaceflight at the State of the Agency meeting at NASA Headquarters on Friday. The meeting is sponsored by the NASA Alumni League and several other space organizations. Mr. Beggs, who was NASA Administrator from 1981-1986, is chairman of the NASA Alumni League.

Mr. Beggs was the driving force behind what is now known as the International Space Station (ISS) program, convincing President Ronald Reagan to back the program despite a lack of enthusiasm from just about everyone in his Cabinet. President Reagan announced that he was directing NASA to build a space station, and to invite other countries to join us, in his 1984 State of the Union address. The goal was to complete it within a decade. Beggs’s next hurdle was to convince Congress, which agreed to authorize the program in NASA’s FY1985 authorization act.

The space station program has survived myriad challenges since that time, with construction completed only now — a decade and a half late. For most people, the space station’s travails are just memories, if that. Attention today is consumed by what the future holds for human spaceflight with the shuttle program ending just as the ISS is hitting its stride and the next step in human spaceflight a work in progress.

Administrator Bolden is, of course, a veteran space shuttle pilot and commander, who now is charged with bringing that program to a conclusion and initiating both government and private sector replacements for it in a highly constrained budget environment.

The Bolden-Beggs discussion will cap a day-long event that features NASA associate administrators or their designees discussing the details of the FY2012 budget request. The meeting is open to the public, but an RSVP is required. See the announcement for details.

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