Santa Maria, CA, United States, 08/08/2007 - The presence of two California-born astronauts on board the space shuttle Endeavor with one being an "Educator Astronaut" generates praise from the Governor and other California leaders.
"California is proud to have Barbara Morgan and Tracy Caldwell--two California natives, as part of the seven-astronaut team on board the space shuttle Endeavor" said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a recent communication with the California Space Authority (CSA), a statewide nonprofit organization representing space enterprise interests.
Morgan, a Fresno-born native who attended Stanford University and Tracy Caldwell, an Arcadia-born native who attended California State University of Fullerton have been a source of pride for Californians in recent weeks. First Lady Laura Bush called Morgan yesterday to wish her well as "one school teacher to another."
"When Americans see the space shuttle," explained Schwarzenegger, "they are seeing the hard work and ingenuity of many California space-enterprise companies. From research and design, to launch system development and testing, to life support and communication networks, it is the hard work and creative solutions coming from California that make the dream of space travel and space tourism a reality for the future."
The Governor continued, "By building on the Golden State's rich legacy of 20th Century aeronautics and aeronautical engineering capabilities, California companies have given the world innumerable space technology breakthroughs and they continue to transform our nation's technological abilities. Maria and I extend our gratitude to the crew of the Endeavor for their commitment to advancing the science of space exploration and wish them the best of luck on their mission. We are proud to say that America's space shuttle is powered by California dreams."
The mission, designated STS-118 is scheduled to launch today, Wednesday, August 8, at 6:36 pm, EDT, from Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The shuttle will utilize the new Station-to-Shuttle Power Transfer System (SSPTS) that will allow the shuttle to draw electrical power from the station and extend the number of days in orbit.
"As a Californian," added California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, "I am proud to know that native daughters of our State are an important part of this mission. We should all take note of the inspiration they provide to young women and young men across the nation, proving that with dedication and hard work, great things are possible."
California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell lauded the astronaut pair. "I am delighted that our state is so capably represented on the Endeavour by two California natives, mission specialists Barbara Morgan and Tracy Caldwell. It is particularly gratifying that Mrs. Morgan is an astronaut-teacher and will be able to serve as a source of inspiration, encouragement, and knowledge to today's science students who may well be tomorrow's space explorers. Dr. Caldwell, I am proud to point out, is a graduate of my alma mater, California State University, Fullerton, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry. They both reflect the finest qualities of education in California and are a testament to our commitment to remaining a leader in the exploration and development of space. I wish them a successful mission and a safe return to earth."
"California has always been on the frontier of technological innovation--producing a new generation of space pioneers," said Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Victoria Bradshaw. "There are over 265,000 space enterprise-associated jobs in California, averaging a total wage estimate of $13 billion. We are not only proud of the accomplishments of those Californians who are making such a tremendous contribution, but we also recognize the importance of the space enterprise to our economy."
"The support for Morgan and Caldwell is heartfelt," said CSA Executive Director Andrea Seastrand. "They represent our Golden State, the best in what we can be, and remind us that the future is still spaceward."
CSA board members are rallying to attend the launch include Executive Director Jim Long, Aerojet/GenCorp; Senior Vice President Drexel Smith, Wyle Labs; Vice President of Mission Assurance, Space and Aerospace Systems, Susan Sloan, Raytheon; Director, Strategic Communications & Development, Angela Phillips Diaz, NASA Ames Research Center; President & CEO, Jim McGlothlin, Quintron Systems; Consultant Steven Bridge, Frontier Technology, Inc.; Director of Communications Diane Murphy, Northrop Grumman Corporation; Deputy Program Executive Officer Bryan Scurry, U.S. Navy; Vice President of Business Development Gwynne Shotwell, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX); Senior Manager Mike Van Scoy, United Launch Alliance (ULA); and Project Manager, Economic Business Development, Laurel Shockley, Southern California Edison (SCE).