(Washington DC) The U.S. House of Representatives today overwhelmingly passed a concurrent resolution (H.Con.Res. 225) honoring the 50th anniversary of the dawn of the Space Age, which occurred on October 4, 1957 with the launch of Sputnik 1.
That event was followed shortly by the successful launch of the American Explorer 1 satellite, which discovered the Van Allen radiation belts among other scientific accomplishments. H.Con.Res. 225 was introduced by House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN), with Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Mark Udall (D-CO), Energy and Environment Subcommittee Chairman Nick Lampson (D-TX), Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX), and Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Feeney (R-FL) as original cosponsors.
Upon introducing the resolution, Gordon noted that "In the aftermath of Sputnik 1, America rose to the challenge that it faced. We invested in our own space program, and we undertook a fundamental reexamination of the nation's educational system, focusing increased attention on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education--what we now call 'STEM' education. America prevailed. Moreover, our accomplishments in space exploration opened a new era for humankind."
"We have many competing societal priorities that must be addressed, but it is also vital that we invest in the future. Our space program is an important part of that future," added Udall.
"The Space Age arrived with the roar of the Soviet launch of Sputnik, after which our nation, the leader of the free world, propelled itself into a space race. We recognized that we faced a challenge, and we responded. In the space race we demonstrated our will and our capabilities, and the results of our past investments in space have transformed our society for the better. We must maintain that commitment to a strong national space program", concluded Lampson.
In addition to H. Con. Res. 225, today the House also honored another significant space and aeronautics achievement in passing H. Res. 736, which recognizes the 60th anniversary of Capt. Chuck Yeager's breaking of the sound barrier.
Also on tap this week, the House will consider H.Con.Res. 222, which recognizes the 90th anniversary of the NASA Langley Research Center.