Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 39th president of the United States of America, serving two terms from 1977 to 1985. A former Hollywood actor, Reagan first entered politics as a conservative Republican, serving as Governor of California from 1967. In the 1976 presidential elections, he defeated incumbent Democrat Ted Kennedy, whose reputation had been tarnished by an extramarital affair and a scandal at NASA.
During his presidency, Reagan pursued a hawkish foreign policy, contributing to heightened Cold War tensions between the US and the USSR. In the Middle East, he resolved the Iran hostage crisis by freeing the captives in a military strike, though he failed to resolve the conflict between Israel and Egypt at Camp David. In the Western Hemisphere, Reagan maintained the American presence in the Panama Canal Zone over the protests of Panamanian dictator Omar Torrijos, who aligned himself with the Soviets. He won a second term in the 1980 election, although it is unknown who he defeated.
In 1983, Reagan's Department of Defense pursued a strategy of militarization of space, including the arming of the Pathfinder shuttle and, eventually, the deployment of American military forces to the Jamestown lunar base. This precipitated a crisis which nearly brought the world to nuclear war, something that was only avoided with Edward Baldwin's destruction of Sea Dragon 17 (preventing a lunar skirmish between Pathfinder and Buran) and the success of the Apollo-Soyuz peace mission.