In his Jan. 25, 1984 State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan directed NASA to build an international space station.

By 2000, the International Space Station (ISS) had its first permanent residents, and this year we are celebrating 20 years of continuous human habitation aboard the floating laboratory.

Reagan’s words still inspire today. In the speech, he discussed why we reach for the stars and why a permanent space station made sense. Watch a clip of the State of the Union address below.

Today, ISS stands as a National Laboratory where astronauts routinely conduct exciting and groundbreaking experiments. Space station astronauts have made heart cells beat in microgravity, grown edible lettuce, studied how the immune system changes while in orbit and so much more.

Learn more about the space station