The Kerry/Edwards campaign has posted a space policy statement on its campaign website. The content of the policy should not come as much of a surprise for those who attended and/or read the press accounts of the Garver-Sietzen debate. The statement calls the Vision for Space Exploration “a purely political stunt, without being backed up by the necessary funding.” The alternative proposed by the Kerry campaign has five major points:
- Increasing NASA’s funding “above current levels adjusted for inflation”, paid for (along with other R&D initiatives) by accelerating the transition to digital TV broadcasting and auctioning the existing analog spectrum;
- Develop a “more balanced” program that “assigns appropriate priority to all NASA programs”. This would appear to place less of an emphasis on exploration in favor of space science, earth science, and aeronautics programs;
- Encourage international participation in NASA programs “in a meaningful way”;
- Increase the emphasis on aeronautics R&D (a partial restatement of point 2);
- Improving the current management of NASA; which the campaign alleges has failed in its bid to reform the agency’s financial and management problems.
Again, not too much of a surprise, although it is the most detailed official campaign statement on space policy to date.