"We need leadership that will challenge every American to ask, "What's next?" We need leadership that will make America's space program first again. We need leadership that will make America first again. That leader is Donald Trump."
"According to the prepared transcript of the speech, she was supposed to end with "That leader is Donald Trump." Those words even appeared on the teleprompter at the back of the arena floor. But she didn't. Instead, she thanked the crowd and left the stage. At no point in the speech did she mention Trump by name."
The take home message: Eileen Collins is mad because the Space Shuttle program was cancelled (by a republican President - shh!) and that the U.S. has no way to launch people into space (no mention of two private sector systems that will fly next year). She feels that great nations explore and that leadership in space contributes to leadership on Earth. She feels that the U.S. used to have leadership in space, that it currently does not have leadership in space, and that it needs to regain that leadership in space. There was no endorsement of anyone. Between mention in the party platform and prominence given at the RNC convention it will be interesting to see if the Democrats give space equal exposure.
Before Eileen Collins spoke the RNC aired a slick 3:44 long video about space exploration. Initially I thought it was rather odd that Collins had a professionally done, inspirational into - with a narrator and soundtrack tailor-made to introduce her when none of the other speakers had one. Indeed, all of the other speakers (except Cruz) endorsed Trump. Add in the prepared comments with an endorsement released to the media - and loaded into the teleprompter - and I get the impression that an endorsement from Collins was fully expected and that something changed at the very last minute.
Comments are open again. Be nice or I'll turn them off again.
Keith's update: Note the highlighted sentences below. Between the unused endorsement in the official prepared comments and what was said, the Trump campaign clearly had a hand in what she said.
"Eileen Collins, retired astronaut - "Nations that lead on the frontier, lead in the world. We need that visionary leadership again: leadership that will inspire the next generation to have that same passion. We need leadership that will challenge every American to ask, 'What's next?' We need leadership that will make America's space program first again. We need leadership that will make America first again."
According to Donald Trump's official Facebook page: "47 years ago our nation did something that NOBODY thought we could do - we were the first to put a man on the moon. It is time to be number one, again! Believe me, as President, we will once again, Make America First Again! #AmericaFirst #MakeAmericaGreatAgain #RNCinCLE"
Keith's update: Tonight's events start at 7:00 pm EDT. Eileen Collins is fourth on the list of speakers. These speeches have tended to be 3-5 minutes in length.
"I will be talking about how the Apollo program inspired Americans to rally behind a cause: John Kennedy's challenge to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth by the end of the decade," Collins told Mashable in a statement. "We landed on the moon 'in peace, for all mankind' and I know that is a message we can all get behind." Collins also added that her three-minute speech at the convention is not meant to be political. "As another motive, this is a chance I could not pass up: We can raise awareness of how the U.S. human space program has slowed over the years," Collins added."
Keith's update: I now find myself deleting 25% of what people post on these election 2016 postings because so many of you go immediately - and utterly - off-topic and post irrelevant political attacks - many of them hateful - from both sides. I am not going to spend the day cleaning up after you. Comments are closed. There will be a posting after Eileen Collins' speech. She is nobody's fool. Let's hear what she has to say. If you folks get on the bus to crazy town again I may simply ban all comments for the duration of this campaign. Stay on topic - or go somewhere else.
"There are several notable women speaking. They include ... Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a space shuttle mission."
"I believe program cancellation decisions that are made by bureaucracies, behind closed doors, and without input by the people, are divisive, damaging, cowardly, and many times more expensive in the long run. As a shuttle commander, I would never make a huge decision without input from all the experts, even the ones I do not agree with. So what will keep us from having surprises like this that set us back years? Answer: A continuity of purpose over many years, over political administrations, and over normal changes in leadership throughout the chain of command. I know there must be ways to do this through policy, organizational structure, and strong leadership."
Keith's note: In March of 1998 at a White House ceremony (then) First lady Hillary Clinton said Collins will take "one big step for women and one giant leap for humanity." CSPAN video includes comments by Clinton about her interest in becoming an astronaut. In July 1999 Clinton went to NASA KSC to watch Collins' first launch as a shuttle commander. Although a launch delay changed plans, the orignal plan was for Clinton to watch it along with Sally Ride and the U.S. Women's Soccer Team.
Keith's update: According to the RNC Eileen Collins will be speaking on Wednesday during "Primetime Program" which starts at 7 P.M. Her exact speaking time is TBD. "Eileen Collins, Astronaut (retired) - Eileen Collins is an astronaut and veteran of four Space Shuttle missions. She was the first woman to command a Space Shuttle mission and logged over 537 hours in space during her tenure at NASA."