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Our continued presence on the Russian space station Mir has provided a strong foundation for the International Space Station. We have learned much about living and working for extended periods in an orbiting laboratory. Consistent with our tradition, the difficult times aboard Mir were overcome with hard work, dedication and ingenuity.
The year marked the beginning of hardware delivery for the International Space Station. Planning continued for the launch of the first station element in 1998. The Space Shuttle demonstrated its capabilities with eight very successful launches. The transition of space flight operations to United Space Alliance, the contractor assuming that responsibility, is going very well.
We continued to make significant gains in our advanced technology efforts. Chamber tests demonstrating the feasibility of advanced life support systems, successes of the X-38, advances in robotics and the development of advanced operations concepts are just a few examples of the technical strengths of the Johnson Space Center's people. Our emphasis on multiple applications of our technologies is a significant step toward setting the stage for future exploration initiatives. Impressive scientific efforts included research aboard Mir and the Space Shuttle. With the establishment of the Space Biomedical Research Institute in March, we formed a powerful partnership that will help us complete the research necessary to put humans in space and on the surfaces of other planets for extended periods.
Across the Johnson Space Center, we continued to demonstrate the breadth and versatility of our workforce and our facilities. We continued to strive for efficiencies in operations, consolidate support activities and demonstrate new and better ways of getting our jobs done. The White Sands Test Facility continued to show its world-class expertise with an outstanding year of performance.
Our efforts to work with the community and to open the center to the public and to business leaders were met with enthusiasm. Our Open House and NASA Johnson Space Center Inspection set attendance records. Our "Longhorn" cooperative education project reflects the community's past as well as its future. We have made commendable progress, across the board, in our efforts to build mutually beneficial relationships with our constituencies. We also made a number of internal investments that will pay great dividends. Our efforts to improve safety and our activities to attain ISO 9001 registration are examples of activities that have required hard work and dedication now in return for substantial future benefits.
Above all, FY 1997 demonstrated again the exceptional talent, the unmatched dedication and the unparalleled commitment of our people. Their accomplishments exemplify the spirit of exploration that will carry the nation and the world forward.
I am pleased to present the FY 1997 Annual Report of the Johnson Space Center. The report covers the Center's activities from October 1, 1996, through September 30, 1997. I am proud of the Johnson Space Center's many accomplishments in FY 1997.
George W. S. Abbey