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Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC
Permission granted by the Houston Chronicle

Aug. 23, 2003, 12:33AM

Bush awaits Columbia report
By Bennett Roth

Copyright 2003 Houston Chronicle

SEATTLE -- President Bush said Friday that he supports the space program
but declined to say what changes he might order at NASA in light of an
independent commission report expected Tuesday on the causes of the
space shuttle Columbia crash. 

NASA officials are anticipating that the report by the Columbia Accident
Investigation Board will be highly critical of NASA's operations. 

Addressing reporters during a trip to the Northwest, Bush would not say
whether he favored resuming manned spaceflight, making major changes at
the space agency or increasing funding for the shuttle. 

"Let me look first at what the report says, how critical it is, what it
says, what it means," he said. "I'll try to answer that question after
I've had a chance to enrich my vision about a pending report." 

The president, who has not commented about the shuttle since he spoke at
a memorial service in Houston for the deceased Columbia astronauts in
February, said in general he is a fan of the space program. 

"I do believe that a space program is important for a country that is
trying to stay on the leading edge of technological change," he said. 

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