CLEVELAND, July 20 (UPI) -- Eileen Collins, the first female NASA astronaut to command a space shuttle mission, addressed the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, calling for new leadership to restore America's space program to its former glory.
"In 2011 the space shuttle program ended. The last time the United States launched our own astronauts from our own soil was more than five years ago. We must do better than that," she said.
Space exploration, Collins said, has also benefitted the American economy and contributed to technological advancements and scientific discoveries.
"We landed on the moon to fulfill a leadership challenge and to explore. We know that exploration leads to innovation and discovery," she said.
Collins' speech did not mention any politicians by name, though she did plead for a president who will "make America's space program first again" -- a play on the theme of the convention's third night.
"Nations that lead on the frontier lead in the world. We need that visionary leadership again, leadership that will inspire the next generations of explorers," Collins said.