President George H. Bush poses with the crew of NASA's Space Shuttle Mission STS-26 after the Discovery Shuttle landed at Edwards Air Base in California on October 3, 1988.
NASA chief Jim Bridgestone said the entire US space agency is mourning President George W. Bush, who died at his 94-year-old house in Houston on Friday (November 30th).
"NASA and the nation mourn the coming of President George Herbert Walker Bush, a leader who was a passionate advocate of space exploration," Bridgestone said in a statement Saturday.
Bush launched the Space Exploration Initiative on July 20, 1989 – the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing – to encourage NASA to return the astronauts to the moon, and then to aspire to the crew mission on Mars. The Space Exploration Initiative (or SEI) called for the construction of a giant orbital line known as Space Station Space Liberation, as well as the search for a permanent human presence on the moon before moving to Mars, according to a review by former NASA historian Stephen Dick. The SEI Space Station project evolved into the International Space Station, but its goal of sending astronauts back to the moon and on Mars remained unrealized. [Presidential Visions of Space Exploration: From Ike to Trump]
The targets set for NASA by Bush are the same that the space agency faces today under the leadership of President Donald Trump, who ordered NASA to return the astronauts to the moon again.
"President Bush's Spaceism Research Initiative has helped us to think long and long-term about space," said Bridgestone. "His passionate vision of" traveling in the morning – a journey to another planet – a Mars mission on Mars "- helped maintain NASA's early work on the International Space Station, and yet it can be felt in our ongoing efforts to send people away solar system to live and work for a long time. "
Bridenstine said Bush was one of his personal heroes and source of inspiration.
"I remember seeing the Republican national convention of 1992 yesterday, I found out about his life as a victim and I heard his weird memories of" sitting on a plane carrier, watching stars and dreaming of a girl named Barbara, "said Bridgestone. "Being the youngest pilot of the Second World War Navy fighters and being shot down, his annual public service in the Congress, the State Department, the CIA, vice president and president, there was nothing he would give for our country and its people ".
Bush was president from January 1989 to January 1993, after eight years as vice president of President Ronald Reagan.
"The president stressed that it is the fate of humankind to explore and the fate of America to lead," Bridgestine said. "We welcome this great American leader who caused us to write a course for the future in order to use all of mankind."