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Space Race

July 11, 1986

On June 17 The Times reported that Jane's 1986 Spaceflight Directory now views the Soviets as having an "almost frightening" 10-year lead over the United States in the practical utilization of space. It is good to see that someone recognizes that the Soviet tortoise is so far ahead of the American hare. It should also be seen that the United States is not so far behind just because of the Challenger accident; the Soviet Union has been plodding along ever since the Apollo era and can now reap the benefits.

In order to catch up we need to make a commitment far beyond merely fixing up the shuttle program. Recently the National Commission on Space (not the Rogers Commission) gave its report to President Reagan outlining America's space goals for the next several decades. It is high time for Reagan to report to the American people and give NASA a new sense of direction.

DAVID PLEGER

Long Beach

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