To Infinity And Beyond! Presidents Look To The Stars

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April 15, 2010: President Obama visits the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and boldly predicts that American astronauts will reach Mars in his lifetime. Here’s a look back at other Presidents who took an interest in outer space.

November 16, 1963: Dr. Werner Von Braun explains the Saturn system to President Kennedy during a tour of the Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex.

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September 8, 1960: Dr. Braun points out details on a Saturn-bound rocket to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Two years earlier, Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, the statute that created NASA.

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February 23, 1962: Kennedy inspects the interior of “Friendship 7” at Cape Canaveral. He was there to present the NASA Distinguished Service Medal to Astronaut John Glenn, pictured on his right.

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July 16, 1969: Former President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice President Spiro Agnew watch the liftoff of Apollo 11.

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July 24, 1969: President Richard Nixon welcomes home Apollo 11 astronauts, seen aboard the U.S.S. Hornet, after their historic lunar landing mission.

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October 1, 1978: Captain Robert Peterson, left, and President Jimmy Carter, right, present the first Congressional Space Medal of Honor to astronaut Neil Armstrong, center, at Cape Canaveral.

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February 5, 1982: Then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, third from left, checks in on the Spacelab engineering module at the Kennedy Space Center.

NASA

March 22, 1982: Vice President Bush and President Ronald Reagan watch the lift-off of STS-3, the third flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia.

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October 29, 1998: President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Astronaut Robert Cabana, and NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin watch a successful launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery.

NASA

August 2, 2005: President George W. Bush speaks with the Discovery crew by telephone.

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January 20, 2009: President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden watch as the NASA lunar electric rover stops in front of the Presidential reviewing stand in front of the White House on Inauguration Day.

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April 15, 2010: President Barack Obama waves farewell after speaking at the Space Center. While the president’s new plan for the space program has sparked some controversy, he sounded confident. By reforming the program, he said, the U.S. can “leap into the future.”

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