Changing of the Guard
In the months following the beginning of Ronald Reagan’s second term as president in January 1985, there were many significant changes in Reagan’s White House staff, including those individuals dealing with the space program. In addition, by the end of 1985 the two top officials at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration had left their positions. As a result, few of the people who had shaped space policy and program decisions during the first Reagan term remained in place. Their replacements were in general of lesser quality. No individual was able to take the lead in reestablishing in the post-Challenger period the forward momentum that had characterized space policy decisions during the first Reagan term, and Ronald Reagan himself both had to struggle to counter the aftermath of a major White House scandal and gave policy priority to dealing with broad issues in the U.S.-Soviet strategic relationship. The result, in the space realm as well as in many other policy areas, was a second Reagan term of limited accomplishments.