Campaign '04

John Kerry and Sally Ride

The Kerry campaign issued a media advisory Monday about an upcoming event with Sally Ride:

On Tuesday, June 29 at 1:30 p.m. EDT, former astronaut and the first woman in space Sally Ride will hold a conference call with reporters to discuss new Kerry proposals to encourage more women and minorities to pursue careers in science and math. Kerry will unveil the proposals tomorrow morning in a speech focused on expanding opportunity in America by strengthening education and lifelong learning – keys to success in the American economy.

Not really space policy related, but it does suggest that perhaps the Kerry campaign could use a space history refresher course. (Sally Ride was the first American woman in space…)

12 comments to John Kerry and Sally Ride

  • That’s ok. Politicians these days are good at reinventing history and their place in it.

  • Dwayne A. Day

    If he wins the election, Kerry will inevitably offer the job of NASA Administrator to Sally Ride and she will inevitably turn it down. This apparently happened numerous times in the past.

  • I was told of this possibility a few weeks ago during a political networking function. I didn’t really have any thoughts on the issue at the time. Most of the buzz in the room had more to do with Iraq (what else?).

    While I think, in principle, both Kerry and Bush don’t really care about space, I think Bush would have been much more supportive of an “economic plan” approach to the nation’s space activities, rather than the explore for exploring sake program now in place (which is salvageable, but still off the mark). Business is a term the President understands well, and I think the opportunity has passed to pursue a space policy that centers on sustained entreprenuership and innovation.

    I’m not sure there’s an angle Kerry would support.

  • Dwayne A. Day

    Mr. Smith makes a good point and it is worth asking what possible alternative space plans the White House could have come up with.

    The Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) is in many ways a pretty conventional approach. They picked a standard, rather obvious next goal. And they included a few new twists, but nothing major. Although the VSE has been denounced as a partisan political effort (“election year politics,” according to its critics), it does not really reflect an ideology.

    But it would have been possible for the White House to produce a policy that was more in tune with its ideology. This could have included greater reliance upon private efforts. For instance, a clear emphasis on purchasing services rather than hardware. (Example: offer to buy a high res map of the moon from whoever can provide it.)

    A colleague has also suggested that another aspect of this policy could have included greater emphasis on asteroid defense, which is in keeping with the administration’s national security focus. I don’t think that could pass the giggle factor, but it would have been more in tune with the administration’s interests.

    And since we’re on this topic, it is possible to speculate about how a Democratic administration might choose to approach space. My guess is that they would put greater emphasis on the traditionally Democratic interests, such as health and education. So although they might not be interested in exploring other planets, they might spend more on health research on the space station.

  • Bill White

    What exactly is the current Adminstration policy?

    ISS completion by 2010 is a pipe dream, right? Is orbiter return to flight even a sure thing by next spring? 25-30 flights in 5 years?

    If the Bush plan is to extend ISS completion as needed to allow orbiter to do the job combined with CEV development (CEV vs OSP – – whats the difference anyway?) isn’t PlanBush merely the same-old same-old papered over with lofty new rhetoric?

    The Moon by 2020? The 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections can change that course easily enough.

    What to do with ISS & orbiter return to flght are the key issues for NASA in the period 2004 – 2008 and is there any evidence Bush & Kerry won’t carry out precisely the same policy?

    To be clear, my first choice woud be to ground orbiter today and re-negotiate ISS completion (even if it means paying Russia for Proton launches) and go to the Moon and on to Mars sooner rather than later.

    And neither candidate is likely to give me what I want.

  • Bill,

    I agree. Neither candidate will provide what I want when it comes to space (or defense, or…).

    I think you helped illustrate an earlier point I made. If the space vision is to government-centric as the Bush plan is, it can be easily derailed because of ever changing proactive policies. If it’s more commerce-centric, then the government is more reactive, since space economics is really just part of national/international economics, and messing with economics is serious business.

    On another note, the Cassini images of the rings are stunning. What a great year for space. Now we must build upon the successes.

  • John Malkin

    I think the reason politicians ‘don’t care’ is because the American’s interested in space are largely silent.

    The only way our government works is if Americans voice their opinions to at least there respective representatives. One letter or phone call is equal to 1000 voices (I forget the exact number). I feel our government has come to reflect what us as voters. We have a good government and a great country. The Space Exploration Alliance (SEA) is the first good thing I’ve seen in decades and I’m on board 100%. The future of space isn’t perfect and when we came to America and explored the west, many mistakes were made along the way but the people made it work. What I hate about America is so many people seem happy being a victim.

    The center of the Space Exploration plan isn’t just science but enabling private enterprise. By creating a base of operation on the moon and a freeway between here and the moon, the government will create opportunities for entrepreneurs. The risk to go to space will always be too great for private enterprise to do without government support until anti-gravity devices are common (whenever that is… 500 years?).

    Either candidate can provide what I want in space and if they don’t it won’t be because I didn’t try. For the U.S. to have a long rage space vision the people must own it.

    P.S. Has anyone heard the results of the conference call with Sally Ride?

  • Jeff Foust


    I’m not sure what you’re looking for in terms of “results” from the conference call; it likely was nothing more than Ride reading a statement of support for Kerry’s education plan and taking some questions from any reporters in attendance. (I say “any” reporters because I have seen no media coverage of this, understandable since the event didn’t sound that newsworthy.)

  • Rand Simberg

    “The risk to go to space will always be too great for private enterprise to do without government support until anti-gravity devices are common…”

    This is an unsupported assertion, not a fact.

  • Bill White

    I agree with Phil Smith and Rand Simberg.

    Government cannot be the sole funding source for space related activities, if my vision for space is to be achieved. Wasn’t “single payor” the label for Hillary’s hated health plan?

    Congress should act to encourage private sector demand for space access, not merely private sector supply of government needs.

    I am greatly encouraged by Bigelow and his plans for a TransHab based space hotel although a TransHab hotel launched by big Russian boosters would be embarassing for ISS if Bigelow’s hotel is almost as capable as ISS at only 5% or 10% of the total cost for ISS.

  • John Malkin

    I was surprised during the moontomars public hearings, how many private companies had good ideas.

    Mr. Simberg is right; I guess I’m just frustrated.

    I was hoping that maybe Kerry would say more about his intent for space during the conference call.

  • Jason Rhian

    Just goes to show:

    VOTE BUSH!!!!!!!!!!