The Home Stretch
As 1987 began, with the Reagan administration starting its final two years in the White House, much of the optimism about the ability to put the United States on a new course in space had dissipated. The Challenger accident and the long and contentious process of developing a launch recovery strategy had diverted administration attention from the possibility of setting long-range space objectives. Reagan’s signature space initiative, the space station, was in budget trouble, and, with the grounding of the shuttles, there was little progress in space commercialization. During 1987–1988, the interagency rivalries that had emerged over the roles of the shuttle and expendable launch vehicles shifted their focus to the NASA space station and a potential commercial alternative, the Industrial Space Facility. Having survived its budget problems and after a redesign, the space station was given a name: Freedom.