April 4, 1983

On behalf of the American people, I send astronauts Paul Weitz, Karol Bobko, Story Musgrave, and Donald Peterson our proudest congratulations on the launch of the Challenger. Today you are among the few people of this planet who have crossed into a domain and experienced a dimension those of us here on the ground can barely imagine. You are no longer earthbound.

The Challenger is an appropriate name for your spacecraft, because you genuinely are challengers. You and your ground crew are daring the future and the old ways of thinking that kept us looking to the heavens rather than traveling to them. You symbolize just how high America's hopes can soar.

May God bless you and bring you safely home to us, again.