Remarks by Telephone to Columbia Astronauts During the First Commercial Operations Mission of the Space Shuttle

November 11, 1982

The President. Hello.

Astronaut Brand. Hello, Mr. President.

The President. Yes.

Astronaut Brand. Columbia.

The President. Yes, who is this? Vance?

Astronaut Brand. Yes, sir. All four of us are standing by here, having a good time up here, sir, getting ready for a deployment.

The President. Well now, wait till I get my hat, and I'll go with you. [Laughter]

Listen, I just want to tell you, Vance Brand and Robert Overmyer, William Lenoir and Joseph Allen, how proud we all are of what you're doing and how much our prayers are with you for success and how everyone down here is watching and how pleased we were with the beautiful sendoff this morning.

You know, some time ago I had an opportunity to speak to some astronauts who were up there in one of the earlier flights of Columbia, and I asked them if when they came over Washington on their last go-round they'd pick me up and drop me off in California with them. And I'll repeat the request. They didn't do it. [Laughter]

But seriously, we are very proud of you, and you know how much all of us here, down below, are rooting for you up there. All of America is watching you.

Astronaut Brand. Well, thank you very much, sir. It's a beautiful world that we're going over -- currently over the Atlantic -- and we're very proud to be up here representing America.

The President. Well, we're proud of you. And we're going to try down here to keep that world as beautiful as it is to you looking at it from up there.

Sometimes I wonder -- just seeing some of the results of your flights, the pictures and all -- I wonder if more of us could see it from that angle we might realize that there must be a way to make it as united in reality here on Earth as it looks from outer space.

Over.

Astronaut Brand. Yes, sir. we're in total agreement on that one.

The President. All right. Well, God bless you, and best wishes to all of you. And again, congratulations.

Over.

Astronaut Brand. Okay.

The President. Over and out. Goodby.

Note: The President spoke at 10:56 a.m. from the Oval Office at the White House to the 4-man crew.

Following their conversation with the President, the astronauts released a communications satellite from the space shuttle into space. Plans called for the deployment of a second satellite the following day.