Public Papers

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the President's Space Exploration Initiative


On July 20, 1989, in a speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing, the President announced three major space policy objectives of the administration: the completion of Space Station Freedom, a return to the Moon to stay, and a manned expedition to Mars. In that speech, he asked the Vice President to lead the National Space Council in developing policies and plans to accomplish these objectives.

The President announced today he has approved the first of a series of policy decisions for the long-term space exploration initiative he announced on July 20. Acting upon the recommendation of the Vice President and the National Space Council, the President has approved a program that will give early focus to technology development and a search for new and innovative technical approaches to the Moon and Mars missions.

The policy consists of the following elements:

The initiative will include both lunar and Mars program elements.

The early program will focus on technology development with a search for new and innovative approaches and technologies.

The program will include investment in high leverage innovative technologies with potential to make a major impact on cost, schedule, and/or performance.

The program will take at least several years defining two or more significantly different human space exploration reference architectures, while developing and demonstrating technology broad enough to support all. Selection of a baseline program architecture will occur after that time.

The program will perform mission, concept, and system analysis studies in parallel with technology development.

The program will include robotic science missions.

By spurring research and development in high technology fields, the space program will help promote American economic leadership.

The program will require the efforts of several agencies. NASA [National Aeronautics and Space Administration] will be the principal implementing agency. The Department of Defense and the Department of Energy will also have major roles in the conduct of technology development and concept definition. The National Space Council will coordinate the development of an implementation strategy for the exploration initiative by the three agencies. To facilitate coordination, the Department of Energy will be added as a formal member of the National Space Council.