A Feb 13, 2013 story in Space.com notes that President Obama’s latest State of the Union address did not contain any mention of NASA or any new space initiatives. This was despite the fact that the president proposed a number of science and technology projects as well as the presence of Bobak Ferdowsi, the Mars Curiosity flight director famously known as “Mohawk Guy” in First Lady Michelle Obama’s box.
Most experts consulted for the article, including John Logsdon, suggested that this was not surprising, considering the small size of NASA’s budget and its low priority with the Obama administration. Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, pointed out that President Reagan mentioned space prominently in two State of the Union addresses. In 1984 he first proposed what eventually became the International Space Station. In 1986, in the wake of the Challenger accident, Reagan reiterated his space goals.
The most famous space speech by a president before a joint session of Congress was not during an official Stare of the Union, but in a special session in 1961 in which President John F. Kennedy proposed to land a man on the moon and return him safely to the Earth by the end of the 1960s.