Space Shuttle first flight presentation to the man who had halped save the project from cancellation ten years earlier.Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-1) Flown Large American Flag and Embroidered Patch, Presented to and Originally from the Personal Collection of Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger (1917-2006). A 12" x 7.5" flown cloth U.S. flag matted with a 12.5" x 8" certificate signed "John Young" (commander) and "Bob Crippen" (pilot). Mounted to the certificate is a 4.25" x 4.75" flown embroidered mission insignia patch. The text printed on the certificate is as follows: "This flag and patch were flown aboard the/ Space Shuttle 'Columbia' (STS-1)./ April 12-14, 1981/ Presented to/ Honorable Caspar W. Weinberger/ Secretary of Defense/ From the National Aeronautics and Space Administration." Framed to an overall 18.25" x 22.25". Excellent condition.
STS-1 was the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle program and the first U.S. manned space shot in nearly six years. Weinberger was secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan in 1981 but his involvement in this particular NASA program goes back to 1971 when he was deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Richard Nixon. NASA Administrator Dr. James Fletcher had asked for budget appropriations to develop and build the ambitious shuttle project. Nixon's advisors kept asking him for smaller and smaller requests. Weinberger realized the importance of the shuttle and, on August 12, 1971, wrote a memo to Nixon. It read, in small part: "There is real merit to the future of NASA and to its proposed programs... Recent Apollo flights have been very successful from all points of view. Most important is the fact that they give the American people a much needed lift in spirit, (and the people of the world an equally needed look at American superiority)..." Nixon wrote "OK" and "I agree with Caspar" on the memo and the Space Transportation System was saved from cancellation. As of this writing, there have been 128 shuttle launches.
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