President Reagan thanks Neil Armstrong for his investigation into the Challenger disaster: "For space voyagers of the future, the Commission's work will ensure that they will be traveling in vehicles as safe as human technology can devise"
TLS as president, one page, 7 x 10.5, White House letterhead, June 19, 1986. Letter to Neil Armstrong, expressing gratitude for his service as vice chairman on the Rogers Commission, which investigated Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. In full: "I want to thank you for your service as a member of the Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident. Your work has been exceptional and your contribution selfless. I would like to mention to you some of the many good results of the Commission's work.
For NASA, you said it best in the concluding thought to the Commission's report: 'The findings and recommendations presented in this report are intended to contribute to the future NASA successes that the nation both expects and requires as the 21st century approaches.'
For space voyagers of the future, the Commission's work will ensure that they will be traveling in vehicles as safe as human technology can devise.
For the American people, the Commission has, through the report, thoughtfully brought them along through each step of the investigation and let them get a close look at one of our nation's greatest achievements—the space program.
As I mentioned when I was with you in the Rose Garden on June 9, 1986: 'We've learned in these past few months that we are frail and fallible. But, we have also learned that we have the courage to face our faults and the strength to correct our errors. Because we don't hide our mistakes, we're not condemned to repeat them.' For these and many more reasons, I thank you for the outstanding work you have performed for America and for the future of our space program." In fine condition, with light toning along the top. Encapsulated by CAG as being from the Armstrong Family Collection.
Created by presidential order, the Rogers Commission was charged with investigating the probable cause of the STS-51-L Challenger disaster and making recommendations for the avoidance of such tragedies in the future. The commission found that the Challenger accident was caused by a failure in the O-rings sealing the aft field joint on the right solid rocket booster, causing pressurized hot gases and eventually flame to 'blow by' the O-ring and contact the adjacent external tank, causing structural failure. The failure of the O-rings was attributed to a design flaw, as their performance could be too easily compromised by factors including the low temperature on the day of launch. The commission criticized NASA's organizational culture and decision-making processes that had contributed to the accident, offering nine recommendations on improving safety in the Space Shuttle program. This ultimately led to the total redesign of the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) and to the creation of a new Office of Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance. A significant presidential letter regarding one of the many admirable services that Neil Armstrong performed for his country.