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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 29, 1997


I am pleased to transmit this report on the Nation's achievements in aeronautics and space during fiscal year (FY) 1996, as required under section 206 of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2476). Aeronautics and space activities in FY 1996 involved 14 contributing departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

A wide variety of aeronautics and space developments took place during FY 1996. The Administration issued an integrated National Space Policy, consolidating a number of previous policy directives into a singular, coherent vision of the future for the civil, commercial, and national security space sectors. The Administration also issued a formal policy on the future management and use of the U.S. Global Positioning System.

During FY 1996, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) successfully completed eight Space Shuttle flights. NASA also launched 7 expendable launch vehicles, while the Department of Defense launched 9 and the commercial sector launched 13. In the reusable launch vehicle program, Vice President Gore announced NASA's selection of a private sector partner to design, fabricate, and flight test the X-33 vehicle.

Scientists made some dramatic new discoveries in various space-related fields such as space science, Earth science and remote sensing, and life and microgravity science. Most notably, NASA researchers cooperating with the National Science Foundation found possible evidence of ancient microbial life in a meteorite believed to be from Mars.

In aeronautics, activities included the development of technologies to improve performance, increase safety, reduce engine noise, and assist U.S. industry to be more competitive in the world market. Air traffic control activities focused on various automation systems to increase flight safety and enhance the efficient use of air space.

Close international cooperation with Russia occurred in the Shuttle-Mir docking missions and with Canada, Europe, Japan, and Russia in the International Space Station program. The United States also entered into new cooperative agreements with Japan and new partners in South America and Asia.

In conclusion, FY 1996 was a very active and successful year for U.S. aeronautics and space programs. Efforts in these areas have contributed significantly to the Nation's scientific and technical knowledge, international cooperation, environmental health, and economic competitiveness.


      October 29, 1997.

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