Photos: Presidents And The American Space Program

  • Former President Lyndon B. Johnson (center left) and Vice President Spiro Agnew watch Apollo 11 lift off toward the moon from Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969.
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    Former President Lyndon B. Johnson (center left) and Vice President Spiro Agnew watch Apollo 11 lift off toward the moon from Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969.
    NASA
  • President John F. Kennedy gets a lesson on the Saturn launch system from Wernher von Braun (center), a German rocket scientist who championed America's space exploration program, during a visit to Cape Canaveral on Nov. 16, 1963.
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    President John F. Kennedy gets a lesson on the Saturn launch system from Wernher von Braun (center), a German rocket scientist who championed America's space exploration program, during a visit to Cape Canaveral on Nov. 16, 1963.
    NASA
  • President Richard Nixon (right) and NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine, aboard the USS Hornet, watch the Apollo 11 astronauts walk from the recovery helicopter to a quarantine facility on the ship on July 24, 1969.
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    President Richard Nixon (right) and NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine, aboard the USS Hornet, watch the Apollo 11 astronauts walk from the recovery helicopter to a quarantine facility on the ship on July 24, 1969.
    NASA
  • President Kennedy (center) receives a briefing from Maj. Rocco Petrone (not pictured) while on a tour of Cape Canaveral in September 1962.
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    President Kennedy (center) receives a briefing from Maj. Rocco Petrone (not pictured) while on a tour of Cape Canaveral in September 1962.
    NASA
  • Making an extremely long-distance call, President Ronald Reagan (seated at center) speaks with the crew of the second space shuttle flight from Houston in November 1981.  He jokingly asked if they could stop by Washington en route to their California landing site so he could come along with them.
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    Making an extremely long-distance call, President Ronald Reagan (seated at center) speaks with the crew of the second space shuttle flight from Houston in November 1981. He jokingly asked if they could stop by Washington en route to their California landing site so he could come along with them.
    SSPL/Getty Images
  • NASA Administrator Robert Froscoch (right) shows a model of the space shuttle to President Jimmy Carter, first lady Rosalynn Carter and daughter Amy during their visit to the firing room of the Launch Control Center at Cape Canaveral in October 1978.
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    NASA Administrator Robert Froscoch (right) shows a model of the space shuttle to President Jimmy Carter, first lady Rosalynn Carter and daughter Amy during their visit to the firing room of the Launch Control Center at Cape Canaveral in October 1978.
    Jeff Taylor/AP
  • President Bill Clinton sits at the controls of a space shuttle flight simulator at the Johnson Space Center in Houston in February 1994.
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    President Bill Clinton sits at the controls of a space shuttle flight simulator at the Johnson Space Center in Houston in February 1994.
    Scott Applewhite/AP
  • Confined to a quarantine chamber aboard the USS Hornet after returning from the moon, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong (from left), Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin speak to President Richard Nixon on July 24, 1969.
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    Confined to a quarantine chamber aboard the USS Hornet after returning from the moon, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong (from left), Michael Collins and Edwin Aldrin speak to President Richard Nixon on July 24, 1969.
    NASA
  • Vice President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush await the landing of the space shuttle Discovery at Edwards Air Force Base in California in October 1988.
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    Vice President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush await the landing of the space shuttle Discovery at Edwards Air Force Base in California in October 1988.
    Cynthia Johnson/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
  • From the roof of the Launch Control Center, President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton watch the launch of space shuttle Discovery on Oct. 29, 1998. Astronaut and Sen. John Glenn was on the flight, his second to space.
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    From the roof of the Launch Control Center, President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton watch the launch of space shuttle Discovery on Oct. 29, 1998. Astronaut and Sen. John Glenn was on the flight, his second to space.
    NASA

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