From: White House
Posted: Thursday, July 28, 2005
Q Is the administration going to take any steps to take a hard look at what's going on with the shuttle program at NASA right now? Does the President believe that the NASA administration has an effective control of the program, in light of what's happened the last 24 hours?
MR. McCLELLAN: Yes, a couple things. One, the safety of the crew is the top priority. The President relies on the judgment of the experts, the engineers at NASA. Engineers at NASA look at all the issues, and they assess the risk. The President appreciates NASA's commitment to safety and acting out of an abundance of caution. He is confident in the job that Administrator Griffin and the experts at NASA are doing.
In terms of the latest announcement, NASA has not made any decision or announced anything about the timing of the next mission. The experts at NASA continue to look at all the facts and all the data. And once they have had the opportunity to do so, then they will come to some conclusions and make decisions about how to proceed.
Q Scott, to follow up on that.
MR. McCLELLAN: Sure.
Q Does the President consider the grounding -- the shuttle grounding a setback to the U.S. space program?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, again, I think I just made a point -- I don't know that the officials at NASA describe it the same way you do. They have not announced, nor have they made any decision regarding future missions for the space shuttle. They're continuing to look at all the data, and that's what they're doing right now, and to assess the situation and determine how to proceed forward.
Q So the administration doesn't see it necessarily as a setback to the program?
MR. McCLELLAN: What we continue to do is wish the crew on board the shuttle Discovery success, and a successful mission. And they are continuing to move forward on their mission, and we appreciate Commander Collins and the entire crew, and all that they are doing.
Q On another matter --
MR. McCLELLAN: Space exploration is a high priority for the United States, and we want to continue to lead the way.
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