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Teams - Mark J. Albrecht, Executive Secretary/National Space Council (NSC)

Mark Albrecht was the Executive Secretary for the National Space Council (NSC) under President George Bush from 1989 to 1992. In that role, Albrecht helped to formulate a national space policy for the Bush Administration, including the President's announcement on July 20, 1989, that the U.S. would establish a manned lunar base and send humans to Mars.

Phase 1 eventually evolved out of the need to gather long-duration medical data needed to accomplish the ambitious goals of that presidential announcement and to further the knowledge necessary to operate what would become known as the International Space Station.

Prior to his NSC appointment, Albrecht was engaged as a legislative assistant for National Security Affairs to Senator Pete Wilson of California. He has also coordinated the space business activities for the Science Applications International Corporation. Additionally, Albrecht has worked for Lockheed-Martin in its Space & Strategic Missions Sector. He holds bachelor and masters degrees in history from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a doctorate in public policy analysis from the Rand Graduate School.

In his Oral History, Albrecht discussed the political environment surrounding the proposed space policy that would ultimately lead to the Shuttle-Mir program:

"Of course, in 1989 we were not engaged in any fever-pitch technology space race with the then Soviet Union. There was no national crisis and urgency, and we knew, in fact, the price tag for this kind of Exploration Initiative would be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, and that there would be potentially very little stomach on the part of the Congress to approve a hundreds of billions of dollars program.

"So we tried to use the lessons of Apollo and to make it clear that what the President was talking about with his Initiative on Human Exploration was in the tradition of Apollo . . . that is to say not a crash 10-year program of the highest national priority. In fact, what we wanted were the benefits of the Apollo program, which was the long-term focus of human exploration; the reaffirmation of the American spirit and the American ethic; the long-term benefits of the technology development; and the demonstration of international leadership, when the strains of the Cold War as the guiding principle of American foreign policy for 40 years was clearly coming into descent. So all those were the positive elements," he said.

Mark Albrecht Oral History (PDF)

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Curator: Kim Dismukes
Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty