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tv   Reel America The 25th Year - 1983  CSPAN  April 11, 2021 4:57pm-5:56pm EDT

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>> the national aeronautics and space administration was founded on october 1, 1958. nasa, the 25th year is a 1983 film celebrating his achievements just as the space shuttle program was beginning to carry payloads into space. ♪
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>> it was called the national advisory committee for aeronautics. a new independent agency created by president woodrow wilson in 1915. it's job? make the united states a world leader in the field of aeronautics. in less than three decades, these early pioneers in aviation and those who followed would be called upon to think through problems a million miles away and do it with oldness and vision. by the mid-1950's, naca had modern wind tunnels and was moving into the area of rocket and satellite research.
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then on october 7, 1957, the u.s. and the rest of the road were greeted by the sounds of sputnik 1. the soviet union had placed the first artificial satellite into orbit. it would not be until early the following year that america's satellite, explorer 1 orbited the earth and explored this surrounding our planet. who believed that at this early stage that we would move out on the thin ribbon of earth's atmosphere to the very edge of our solar system and beyond? project mercury, the country's first manned spaceflight program was given the go-ahead just one week after nasa was
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seven test pilots were selected to become astronauts. alan b sheppard. walter. virgil i grissom. john h glenn junior. leroy gordon cooper. ed malcolm scott carpenter -- and now come scott carpenter. -- and malcolm scott carpenter.
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♪ and while they were being trained, several monkeys took rides in the new mercury spacecraft. . ♪
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meanwhile, the orbiting of unmanned satellites became more commonplace. weather watchers found a permanent place in daily lives by improving weather forecasting. on august 12, 19 60, president eisenhower took first in the first transmission of the echo one communication satellite. >> this is president eisenhower speaking. it gives me satisfaction to participate in this experiment in communication involving the use of the satellite known as echo. ♪ on may 5, 19 61, astronaut alan
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b sheppard made america's first suborbital flight. project mercury was underway. >> 3, 2, 1, 0. lift off. read you loud and clear. 14 psi oxygen is go. cabin pressure holding at 5.5. ♪ soon after freedom seven landed, president john kennedy gave nasa an ambitious new space goal. >> we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do other things not because they are easy because they are hard. that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because
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that challenge is one we are willing to accept, one we are willing to postpone -- are not willing to postpone, and one we intend to win -- win. and the others too. ♪ >> after alan shepard and gus grissom test flew, four other astronauts orbited the earth in mercury followed by john glenn and gordon cooper. >> all systems go. the red light is on. all the vacuum.
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mercury umbilical clear. t -18 seconds and counting. 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, three, 2, 1 zero. >> as nasa geared up to responded to lunar commitment, it became clear that new techniques or handling symptoms -- final integration would have to be developed. it was also clear that electronics and computers would be pushed to the limit. unknowns about the moon were numerous, such things as to whether an astronaut would sink into dust over his head.
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lunar impact studies like these were carried out in an attempt to learn. researchers fired projectiles, simulating meteors hitting the moon and then measured how much material was thrown out by impact. this animation shows how scientists believe the huge crater tyco was formed on the moon, 54 miles wide. a series of picture taking ranger spacecraft slammed into the moon. then, five lunar orbiters photographed the moon's surface,
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including the never before seen backside. we saw a glimpse too of our own planet from lunar distance, but most important of all, it made possible de-selection of landing sites. -- it made possible the selection of landing sites. six surveyor spacecraft made landing of the moon over a two year. . a robot arm dug a trench. lunar soil was like wet sand. men and equipment could safely land. panoramic views like these were assembled from hundreds of individual photographs.
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communications via satellite exploded into a whole new industry, that first live intercontinental transmission by telstar one was just the start. >> ♪ >> relay, designed to transmit television of a telephone, and high-speed data. olympic coverage from tokyo and earlybird one were follow on stew previous research and development. >> 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. >> because of the following special one hour program, program schedule at this time previously will not be seen. >> having astronauts work outside the spacecraft was critical to lunar missions so nasa began project gemini. the gemini spacecraft was enlarged to hold a two man crew.
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gemini would provide job -- design answers for the upcoming apollo. who could ever forget that spectacular first what -- walk in space by astronaut and white. -- by astronaut ed white? ♪
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10 times pairs of astronauts flew into orbit, walking in space, rhonda viewing, and talking. gemini blazed the trail for project apollo the spacecraft that would carry astronauts to the moon. more than eight years were poured into designing, building, testing, and preparing, astronauts, rockets, and spacecraft for the first lunar landing. you're the visual look back at preparation -- here is a visual look back at preparation.
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in 1967, tragedy struck. the nation mourned the loss of the crew that would have flown in the apollo spacecraft on its maiden voyage. astronauts died in a fire as they were conducting tests on the launchpad. while these changes were being made, the parts and pieces need to assemble the giant saturn five moon rocket came together at the kennedy space center in florida. everything associated with the
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saturn five was huge. the rocket itself, the building, the crawler transporter that carried it to the launchpad. ♪ the fully loaded up all it does apollo saturn five was 365 feet tall. its main engine is -- engines generated 160 million horsepower. its fuel pumps pushed fuel to the engine with the force of 40 diesel locomotives. it weighed more than 2800 times. -- tons. ♪
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pace quickened -- the pace quickened. ♪
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two days before christmas in 1960 eight, astronauts moorman, level, and enters became the first humans to pass out of earth's gravitational control. landing sites looked good. our earth seemed small and fragile, hanging in space. this view of ourselves from lunar distance would change the way we think about earth. it raised profound questions. the next two flights, apollo nine and 10 would continue dress rehearsals for the first lunar landing. all systems were ready. astronauts neil armstrong, edwin
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aldrin, and michael collins, would make the historic journey. the next stop was tranquility base. >> two, 1, 0, all engines are running. we have lift off 32 minutes past the hour. tower cleared. >> neil armstrong reporting. apollo 11 on a proper heading. ♪ >> how do you read? >> roger, loud and clear. you are looking great, coming up nine minutes. >> we are now in the approach trays and everything is looking good. altitude 4200.
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>> two and a half down. four forward. to the right a little. 6 -- -- 6 -- six and a half. >> tranquility bay here. the eagle has landed. that is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. >> ♪
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>> apollo 11 crew were welcome back -- welcomed back as heroes. . ♪ meanwhile, more than 100 scientists from here and abroad began intensive studies of lunar samples.
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before project apollo ended, six additional flights to the moon were made. all but one were highly successful. ♪ skylab was the next demand phase -- space flight. a two story orbital workshop. then, the first of 33-man crews
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departed to meet the orbiting laboratory. those crews would state 28, 59, and 84 days respectively. one major objective was to find out if astronauts could physically withstand extended stays in space and continue to do useful work. the answer was yes. experiments in astronomy, earth resources observation, materials processing, and crystal growth all proved highly successful. then, a stp, apollo's test project, a joint endeavor between the soviet union and the u.s.. the mission called for mutual docking and crew exchange to
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develop equipment for international space rescues. before, during, and after apollo, skylab, and a stp, nessus programs were giving scientists exciting glimpses into the solar system. seven mariner spacecraft flew by mars, venus, and mercury, sending back pictures and data. 10 pioneer spacecraft did likewise, including jupiter and venus.
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pioneer 10 became the first man-made object to leave the solar system. atmosphere physics, astronomy, meteorology, and geology are just a few of the scientific disciplines studied why orbiters through the years. hundreds of sounding rockets have probed the atmosphere, above where balloons are effective but below the area where satellites fly. bio satellites were set aloft to answer questions. will cells divide normally while
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weightless? how does zero g affect plant growth? would radiation and weightlessness this -- weightlessness be a hazard? plants and primates were orbited to find out. there were the orbital -- orbiting geophysical observatories that blossomed out like dragonflies. orbiting solar observatories study the sun -- studied the sun. in the last 25 years, our astronomical observatories have changed our view of the universe. we now see a dynamic universe of quasars and black holes and other extraordinary objects, of cataclysmic forces causing the birth and death of stars, of
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billions of galaxies wheeling in the immensity of space. we looked back at planet earth was lancet remote-sensing satellites, crops, forests, pollution, all can be photographed in great detail to help us manage our resources. the viking program was a systematic effort to investigate the planet mars. two separately launched spacecraft made up of a pair of openers that would photograph above the dessa pair of orbiters spent -- a pair of orbiters spent months traveling to the red planet. the lender's -- the lander's robot arm conducted tests.
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reports were sent back routinely. cameras began returning pictures, thousands of pictures. color photographs showed a surface littered with rocks, fine dust, red or yellow brown. we even had a chance to view the two moons of mars, faux post--- phobos and demos. a triumph equal to the landings on the moon. two unmanned voyager spacecraft carried a record with the sights and sounds of earth in case they encounter a cosmic neighbor along the way. their interplanetary journey was designed to take them past jupiter and saturn.
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eventually one foliage or passed close to uranus and neptune. sensors recorded jupiter's weather patterns and detected lightning bolts. it took 40 minutes for a signature -- signal from voyager to be received by mission control so the spacecraft had to be essentially automatic. voyager also took a good look at jupiter's largest moons. there is io i/o with active volcanoes, europa, ganymede, the largest moon, appears to be a mixture of rock and ice, and callisto, probably the oldest of the four.
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the voyagers next assignment was to flyby saturn and its moons. saturn's fast ring system is made up of small particles that orbit in wavelike patterns. it's atmosphere is buffeted by a strong jetstream that blows eastward at 1200 miles per hour. voyager detected the hottest gases ever observed, up to one billion degrees fahrenheit. as of now, two thirds of the planets in our solar system have been explored. by the end of the decade, we will have explored most of the
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rest, including uranus and neptune. through the years, the single most constant in nasa has been and continues to be its aeronautical research. it is a common thread woven through the agency. it has influenced everything that flies on earth and in space. there is little doubt why does country has been the world leader in things aeronautical. here are some of the goals of the program. make aircraft more energy-efficient. fly higher, faster, and further on less fuel. lower pollution, improve engines, reduce weight through composite materials. . study problems associated with tornado like patterns of air that trailed behind aircraft
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causing problems for smaller planes following. airplanes are america's largest industrial expert thanks to dust export things to nasa -- largest industrial export thanks to nasa. since there are some 200,000 general aviation aircraft in this country, nasa research is also improving this class of airplanes, crashworthiness, and stall/spin studies are good examples. the problem of potentially crippling ice formation is also being worked on. the heart of this research is a unique refrigerated test tunnel,
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capable of simulating the conditions in aircraft is likely to encounter. once a test has been run, newly developed computer codes are used to evaluate the results. during the early days of manned spaceflight, consideration was given to using something to return astronauts in spacecraft to earth. while this method was ultimately discarded, it did produce a rather interesting new sport. there has been extensive work
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done on airplanes that take off and land vertically. and, ones that need very short runways.
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hybrids that are combinations of airplane and helicopter. and oblique-wing aircraft that reduce drag by pivoting the wings at an angle to the fuselage. the expertise used to make airplane propellers better. has also been applied to powerful wind turbine electric generators, including some of the largest in the world.
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nasa's aeronautical research was the seed from which the space program would grow, a prime example was the lifting body project that began in the early 1960's, the combination of wind tunnel tests and actual flight led to the design of the reusable space shuttle.
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>> set. >> set. >> when the design and wind tunnel work was complete, a series of approach and landing tests were scheduled. since the orbiter has no power for landing, its ability to land easily with only one try was critical. coming. down. 20 feet. 10 feet. five feet. four feet. two feet. one foot. down. the near perfect landing of the enterprise gave final proof that the shuttle orbiter was a flyable, landable aircraft. the research and development would be put to the test, the first flight into space with shuttle columbia with astronauts at the controls. the brand-new shuttle moved from its processing facility at the
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kennedy space center to the vehicle assembly building, where it would be mated with buckets and fuel tank and rolled out to the launch pad. never before had a new spacecraft been flown this way. previous mercury, gemini, and apollos meant that unmanned flights were flown before putting an astronaut on board. despite nagging problems with protective tiles, there was optimism. longtime space workers knew from past experience with the lunar landing program the design and engineering problems do get worked out. after one false start, two astronauts headed for the launchpad. 30 seconds. it goes into the interior. columbia's maiden flight would be just 54.
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54.5 hours, 36 orbits, and return to earth, but it signaled the beginning of the reusable space transportation system. to ensure that everything is proper. nine, eight, 7, 6, 5, 4 -- we have a main engine start. [rocket engines firing]
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>> apollo, houston, we are back with you. roger, columbia, you have your normal capcom. ok. the only bad part is we have to come down, joe. [helicopter] 3, 2, 1. touchdown. [applause] [cheers] touchdown. [anthem plays] [ship horn bellows]
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♪ >> that is a good picture -- roger -- [honking] >> 30 weeks later, after columbia had been returned to the kennedy space center, clean, refurbish, and rolled out to the pad, the astronauts flew into space again.
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while an imaging radar system mapped distant earth, the crew made a test of a canadian-developed mechanical arm that would later replace payloads into and out of orbit. we copy. it looks a little cloudy out here. and we can hear it cranked up on board. >> ok, standby. [beeping] ok, we see fan a on and we would like you to take [applause] [cheers] >> as columbia landed the second time, the circle was complete, a new generation of space travel had begun. [applause] [cheers] ♪
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>> beautiful. >> when space shuttle three left the launchpad, it carried an experiment prepared by 18-year-old todd nelson of minnesota to study the effects of weightlessness on insects and space. it is called the shuttle student involvement project, includes national, the national science teachers association and industry sponsors to transform winning proposals into flight experiments. since this first flight, young people in high schools around the country have developed and flown a variety of experiments, ranging from medical projects to the study of zero gravity on an ant colony. they are setting an example for others who may be encouraged to pursue a career in science and engineering, something that ultimately can be translated into technological leadership for the u.s. [rocket engines firing] 12 weeks past, then the astronauts piloted columbia on its fourth and final test flight.
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the spacecraft's performance made it possible to certify the space transportation system a fully operational carrier. as they landed on july 4, the crew was greeted by president and mrs. reagan. [rocket engines firing] space shuttle five, the first operational flight, two commercial communication satellites were put into orbit, one for satellite business systems, and one for, south of canada. it was a complete success. >> obviously -- >> space shuttle six was the second operational mission i'm in flight one for challenger come of the country's newest spacecraft. after launching a 5000-pound satellite from the payload bay, mission specialist astronauts became the first americans in nine years to walk in space.
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the practice was needed for satellite repair work. >> massive article -- go around and get it on the right side. >> it says tape on the left-hand door? >> mission seven carried a crew of five into space, including america's first woman astronaut, sally ride. >> main engine start and the ignition and lived off, lived -- lift off, lift off of america's first woman astronaut, and the shuttle is clear the tower. [rocket engines firing] roger, challenger. rollover started. >> she and a mission specialist sdeployed communication
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satellites for canada and indonesia. >> roger that. looks great. >> shuttles one and two were in operation, with the discover added to the fleet, and dozens of astronauts in training at any given time, this new space transportation system would begin delivering in earnest, and with increasing frequency. opening a new era in science's space lab, where scientists from around the world work together in a unique international research center aboard nasa's space shuttle. built by the european space agency, space lab is creating exciting new opportunities for research in all the sciences, and making routine international cooperation a reality. looking farther ahead, there is the space telescope that will expand our vision almost to the edge of the universe.
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the shuttle gives the united states an unrivaled tool for the practical use in space. historically, the space program as proceeded in a building block fashion, and towards that end manasseh has begun looking at the next logical step, a possible future space station, a permanent presence in space. the station would serve as a scientific and technological laboratory, as well as an operations base from which satellites could be serviced, and large structures assembled. one of the highest priorities is to develop a clear understanding of a station's proper role in the total space program, so that if and when it is proposed for development, the station will be a truly significant national asset, one that would ensure continued american preeminence in space. the space program in general and the shuttle program in particular have gone a long way to help our country recapture its spirit, vitality, and competence of the pioneer spirit
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still flourishes in america. in the future, as in the past, our freedom, independence, and national well-being will be tied to new achievements, new discoveries, and pushing back new frontiers. we must look aggressively to the future by demonstrating the potential of the shuttle and establishing a more permanent presence in space. >> the 25th anniversary of nasa. it is identified by spacecraft, airplanes, and wind tunnels, but it is the people behind it all who are really important. it is the people who think and dream and work to make these things possible. that is the true measure of nasa strength and its successes, and it is to the next generation of space pioneers, the youth of the world that this program is
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dedicated. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] ♪ [gong] ♪ ♪ >> you can watch the archival films on public affairs in their entirety on a weekly series reel america, saturday at 10:00 p.m. and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern, here on american history tv.
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>> located at the foot of capitol hill, the united states botanic garden was first proposed by president george washington in his 1796 letter. >> is getting interested in naval exploration and buoyed by the overnight success of the lewis and clark expedition a few years earlier, congress feels that the countries is ready to send out an armada or a small fleet of ships, which are called united states exploring expedition in 1838 to explore the south seas, which essentially is the pacific. and a naval officer named charles what became -- charles wilkes became the commander. and wilkes was a junior officer at the time he set ou. t. he had four ships. for four years, he explored the
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pacific. and he explored the pacific from as far north is what would currently be alaska and as far south as antarctica and crisscrossing all over the ocean between. wilkes was a survey. he was most interested in mapping. to this day for you look at maps of antarctica you will find a wilkes land named after him he was the first surveyor to survey a section of antarctica. unlike some more famous expeditions of natural history, charles darwin's famous voyage with the beagle, there was no naturalist, a trained naturalist on the voyage with wilkes and his men. but there was an understanding that part of the expedition was to catalog all kinds of things that we are seeing. so, artifacts and plants, both living and dried were collected during the four year expedition between 1838 and 1842
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they collected close to 10,000 dried plant specimens which had their own wonderful history and became a part of the nucleus collection of the national herbarium within the smithsonian. and also they collected over 150 living plants. it's quite amazing. these plants survived the journey across many, many different climates, a wide variety of latitudes and made their way back to the harbors in the eastern united states where their value was instantly recognized by congress. so, upon the return of the wilkes exploration -- expedition in 1842, congress immediately sought to protect these plans from the pacific rim and give them a home. in 1842, congress appropriated funds to create a temporary greenhouse structure. at that time, at the old patent office. and there they sat, stewarded by
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wilkes himself. he took over care of the collection and the administrative care of the collection immediately after he returned from the expedition. and he began the process of getting congress to create and fund a permanent home for these plants. it's really fascinating. today, we would say can you believe that congress paid attention to 100 plants that were being returned? but in that day, there is a couple of interesting things it's challenging to move plants around. really the horticultural technology to begin to grow plants farout out of their environment was just being created all over the world. we also have to remember in the early 1800s the united states was still a primarily agrarian economy. most people, and most founding fathers and politicians, and other members of society were earning a living somehow through what we might call today bio technology. and plant bio technology was at
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the center of that the growing of plants and acquiring of new plants represented new technology that could drive new forms of income, new products and new innovation. so, this was instantly grasped by congress and wilkes did not have too hard of a time securing funds for the stewardship and maintenance of these particular plants. so, wilkes was busy at work for several years finding funds to steward these plants and by 1850, 1849 to 1850 congress appropriate the funds in the first permanent greenhouse of the united states botanic garden was being constructed and completed in 1850. the plant collection that was pict up during the wilkes - -pic ked up during the expedition found a permanent home on the block where we currently stand. >> it's customary for a newly
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elected president to address the joint session of congress early in his term. president biden has not yet scheduled his. sunday we will features ages from two of his predecessors. president george w. bush: our nation needs a clear strategy to confront the threats of the 20th century. threats that are more widespread and less certain. they range from terrorist that threatened with bombs to tirades and rogue nations intent on developing weapons of mass distraction. to protect their own people, our allies and friends, we must develop and we must deploy effective missile defenses. [applause]
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president george w. bush: as we transform our military we can discard cold war relics and reduce our own nuclear forces to reflect today's needs. as -- [applause] a strong america is the world's best hope for peace and freedom. yet the cause of freedom rests on more than our ability to defend ourselves and our allies. freedom is exported every day, as we ship goods and products that improve the lives of millions of people. free trade brings greater political and personal freedom. each of the previous five presidents has had the ability to negotiate far-reaching trade agreements. tonight ask you to give me the strong hand of presidential trade promotion authority introducer quickly. -- and to do so quickly. >> watch the full program sunday
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at 8 p.m. eastern, 5:00 pacific on american history tv. >> thi c-span cities tours travels the country exploring the american story. since 2011, we have been to more than 200 communities. like many americans, our staff is staying close to home due to the coronavirus. next, a look at what of our cities tour visits. >> in 1935, two army captains named anderson and stevens sailed off of the south dakota planes to a record-breaking 72,000 feet. >> we are really lucky in rapid city. we have some interesting history that goes beyond just the culture of the area. in the learning center my we are talking about the stratobowl and the stratosphere flight, and sending man up above the stratosphere. essentially, the rapid city area is the home of the first spaceflight.


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