The Space Program: Past and Future, Public or Private?

This year, 2004, marks the 35th anniversary of man's triumphant landing on the surface of the Moon, fulfilling President John F. Kennedy's vision to land a man on the Moon "and return him safely to the Earth." That period has captured our imagination. Since that time, we have enjoyed many successes and endured several challenges in our quest to explore the far reaches of Space, extending mankind's basic yearning to expand our horizon. The Space Program has impacted lives in innumerable ways. During the symposium, we examined the history of the Space Program and where it was headed, addressing the fundamental question of why Space exploration is important and who, government or private organizations, should lead the way into the Heavens. Participants included NASA administrator Bill Readdy, himself a Shuttle veteran, Senator Bill Nelson, and numerous commentators and scholars speaking to the future and the utility of a US space program. Though scheduled to speak, Dr. Sally Ride was unable to join us as she was ill. Monday, Oct. 4 also marked the first successful flight by private groups to launch a vehicle in Earth's orbit.