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Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard's measure to name the planned space learning center in Downey, CA "The Columbia Memorial Space Science Learning Center" passes the U.S. House of Representatives

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Washington, October 5, 2004 | comments

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) is pleased to announce passage of a measure she authored to name the planned space science learning center at the former Rockwell International plant site in Downey "The Columbia Memorial Space Science Learning Center."  The measure passed the U.S. House of Representatives on October 5 by a voice vote.  The following is the full text of a statement the congresswoman presented on the House floor prior to the measure's passage:

"I am proud to rise in support of House Joint Resolution 57, which I introduced last year with my distinguished colleague, the Chairman of the Space Subcommittee, Dana Rohrabacher.

I thank Chairman Rohrabacher for his support and assistance in bringing this resolution to the floor.

This resolution, I am proud to say, has the unanimous support of the California Delegation in the U.S. House of Representatives and I thank all of them for their sponsorship. 

House Joint Resolution 57 names the planned science learning center in the City of Downey  "The Columbia Memorial Space Science Learning Center."  This naming is in honor of the seven brave astronauts who lost their lives on the Space Shuttle Columbia on February 1, 2003.

The City of Downey, which I'm proud to say is in the 34th Congressional District I represent, was home to the former Rockwell International plant where key components of NASA's space shuttle fleet, including the Columbia, were built.

The history of America's space program runs deep through the fabric of Downey , where virtually everyone in the city boasts of having a relative or a friend who played a role in engineering or building our nation's space shuttle fleet.

When NASA closed the shuttle manufacturing facility, it was Downey's great pride in its space heritage that motivated city leaders to incorporate a space science learning center as a cornerstone of its economic redevelopment plan. 

Former Rep. Steve Horn's early support was key to this effort and his ability to secure federal resources for the center was instrumental in moving the project forward.

I am pleased to continue his work and to be able to finalize the transfer of the former NASA site from the State of California to the City of Downey.

When completed in 2006, the learning center will memorialize the Columbia astronauts, the rich space history of Downey, and all who helped realize our nation's dream of space exploration. 

To effectively teach current and future generations about this proud history, Downey has contracted a historian who is familiar with aeronautics development and its social context in Southern California.

The historian's work will be the principal source for history oriented exhibits and programs at the center.

The Columbia Learning Center, however, is also about the future of space exploration.

Downey's leaders recognize that the city's legacy goes beyond astronauts, aeronautical engineers, or the shuttles, Apollo modules, and moon capsules that were built in Downey during the last half century.

They know the future lies in our youth.

The Columbia Memorial Space Science Learning Center will therefore design programs and exhibits to excite our youth about the sciences and to inspire them to become our country's future astronauts, scientists, and engineers who will explore the universe and make discoveries we can now only imagine.

I can't think of a more fitting memorial than to name the space science learning center in honor of the brave men and women of the Columbia crew who gave their lives in the pursuit of space science and space exploration. 

I am proud to sponsor this legislation with Chairman Rohrabacher and the entire California Delegation, and I urge its adoption."

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