The President. Mr. Vice President and distinguished Members of the Congress and Admiral Truly and Dr. Fletcher and Dale Myers and NASA officials: today I'm pleased to announce my intention to nominate Admiral Dick Truly to serve as the Administrator of NASA.
This marks the first time in its distinguished history that NASA will be led by a hero of its own making, an astronaut who had been to space, a man who has uniquely experienced NASA's tremendous teamwork and achievement. And Dick has given 20 years of his life to NASA's work. In April '81, he piloted shuttle Columbia in America's first shuttle flight. And since 1986 he served as the Associate Administrator for Space Flight. He led the recovery team immediately following the Challenger accident and headed the return to flight team that redesigned the solid rocket boosters and then revamped NASA's safety and quality assurance efforts.
I am fully mindful that because Dick Truly is an active duty naval officer that I will need the assent and cooperation of the Congress to make this appointment. And I would like to say thanks in advance to the congressional leaders here today for their willingness to assist in moving this important nomination forward. Dick is already a busy fellow. He's going to leave this ceremony to go down to the flight readiness review for the next shuttle launch. He's going to the Cape, I believe.
Admiral Truly. Yes, sir.
The President. And on that mission, the shuttle Atlantis will carry the Magellan Venus Radar Mapper which will revolutionize knowledge about Earth's sister planet. The launch of Magellan is the first in a series of long-planned space science missions scheduled for 1989. I personally place a great deal of importance in our nation's civil space program. And NASA's scientific achievements have been enormous, and its future promises equally important discoveries. NASA's work is a source of inspiration and a challenge to the young people in this country. And the excitement and interest of space exploration has encouraged many young Americans to study technical fields. NASA's accomplishments are a source of pride to all Americans.
And in closing, I would be remiss, indeed, if I didn't thank Dr. Fletcher once again for an outstanding job as NASA Administrator. I can tell you, I seldom speak for the Congress, but he has been an inspiration to all of us. Jim, your return there gave NASA the stability and leadership that it needed to believe in itself again. And for your sacrifices and those of your family, too, we thank you.
So, Dick, you know you've got a tough act to follow, and I certainly know something about following a class act myself. [Laughter] But you are going to do a terrific job. And we are very, very grateful at your willingness to undertake this. And Dan and I look forward to working with you. Congratulations!
Admiral Truly. Mr. President, let me first just thank you for the faith you show in me to take over from a person of Jim Fletcher's caliber in running NASA. NASA is premier in aeronautics and space science and exploration and taking men and women to space to do important jobs for our country. And I really look forward to -- with your leadership, in working with the Vice President at the space council and contributing what I can. And thank you so very much.
Note: The President spoke at 2:35 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. In his opening remarks, he referred to James C. Fletcher and Dale D. Myers, former Administrator and Deputy Administrator, respectively, of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.