Campaign '08

Giuliani on the gap, Moon, Mars, and COTS

As promised, Florida Today published a “guest editorial” by Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani today, where the candidate outlines his stance on civil and commercial space policy. After leading off discussing the shuttle-CEV gap, calling it “unacceptable”, he continues with these key paragraphs:

We will maintain America’s technological advantage in space. We will send Americans back to the moon and onto the next great frontier in human space exploration: Mars.

We will support the Commercial Orbital Transportation Systems [sic] Program to stimulate important private entrepreneurial efforts in spaceflight.

We will expand private-sector access to Cape Canaveral launch pads. To help prepare astronauts for longer stays in space, we will fund the Space Life Sciences Lab.

Giuliani also calls for an increase in NASA’s budget, but not by a specific amount: “NASA currently receives less than 1 percent of the federal budget — six-tenths of 1 percent, to be more exact. An increase would do wonders without affecting 99 percent of the federal budget.”

Still, this is one of the bolder space policy statements made by a presidential campaign to date in this campaign, committing to human missions to the Moon and Mars as well as supporting commercial efforts like COTS. However, given Giuliani’s standing in recent polls—third place, well behind McCain and Romney —this policy could soon be of only academic interest.

15 comments to Giuliani on the gap, Moon, Mars, and COTS

  • It’s the best policy statement we’ve seen, and the only substantial one from the Republican side. While I am not giving Giuliani much chance of pulling off an upset in Florida, this may put pressure on the other Republican candidates to express their views on the subject in coming days, as they will want those Space Coast votes for themselves.

  • One has to wonder if the recent Weldon retirement announcement will favor the candidate with the best-stated policy regarding the space program. I think that it will.

  • I’m pleasantly surprised at the Guiliani campaign’s emphasis on commercial solutions. COTS gets mentioned explicitely but only general references are made to Shuttle and Constellation, with nothing specific about Shuttle extension or Ares I/Orion. As a result, the article doesn’t pander much to the Shuttle or Constellation workforces at KSC. That’s good policy, but may not be the best politics to help Guiliani win Florida. Here’s hoping Guiliani can come from behind.

    The Guiliani campaign does need to do its homework in one area. If this statement:

    “When China announced its intention to go to the moon, it reminded me of President Kennedy’s words: ‘The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.’”

    refers to a Chinese human lunar effort, it’s false. China has made no such announcement. In fact, the head of their space agency stated just the opposite as recently as a few months ago, that China has no program or plans to land taikonauts on the Moon.

    It may also be a reference to the ongoing robotic lunar orbiter mission Chang’e, but if that’s the case, the Kennedy comparison is rather weird.

    FWIW…

  • The most important aspect of Guiliani’s column isn’t what he says in it (as nice as it is to hear) but that he, as a presidential candidate, wrote it at all.
    Pandering? Maybe, but let’s face it: as others have noted already, space is getting more coverage in this campaign than it has in more than 40 years.
    Those of us who firmly believe in the value of more robust activity in space (gov’t, commercial, or both), must continue to capitalize on this struck chord and exploit it for all it’s worth, even if it remains on the periphery of the “bigger” issues. Whether we’re conservative or liberal doesn’t matter; getting more in-roads into the American consciousness should be our primary objective. If we can keep every candidate talking about space at least some of the time, even the traditional media will cover it (even while trying to marginalize it). In turn this will allow, with our collective, coherent guidance, more Americans to rediscover the vital importance of space exploration and its abundant promise.

  • Uh…Mr. Guiliani is just pandering. If you want space exploration to take more of the public’s attention. Young people need to see more people making a good living as a career in the field. It’s not about 15 seconds of fame. It’s about a systematic correction of policy and restating the value of space exploration in the academic and industrial setting. If anyone hadn’t noticed before there’s a bigger chasm than the 5 year lag in launch system replacement. That is access into space remains at a single point spaceport and launch system. Until you have multiple access points with competing launch systems for humans/cargo to access space and robust in-space activity, the space program NASA style will continue to see contraction toward other pursuits that have nothing to do with things space.

  • Al Fansome

    BEHRHORST: Uh…Mr. Guiliani is just pandering.

    The “closing the gap”, and equating it with national security, part is pandering.

    The “support for COTS” part is not. You don’t get many Florida votes for publicly supporting COTS. I too am pleasantly surprised.

    Kudos to Mayor Giuliani, and to those who are advising him. This one part of his statement makes him look more serious and credible to me.

    - Al

  • Rick Laviolette

    If we look historically at Republicans and the space program development, it is a disappointing history. The 20 year lead in space championed by President John F. Kennedy was almost dismally abandoned by the President Nixon Administration. 250,000 Technicians, Scientists and Doctors ended their careers in the United States to pursue their dreams in Europe, China and Japan (among others). Scientific communities work silently and diligently in their pursuits but not here. Now we extensively buy our components and materials from foreign agents while the rest of the world trods onward. We relenquish a stage in humanity where we were the stars shining brightly and must step aside because of a dedication to war and greed. The touted “Less government” of the republican administrations was followed by unprecedented spending and corrupting of the space program into Star Wars Defense with little emphasis on space and heightened concern for defense contractors. Now President Bush wants to adultrate the space programs even further by sending Haliburton to the Moon to mine helium-3. They did not even stay in the country long enough to pay taxes! I think the next time we elect a president, we should measure the distance between his eyes to make certain there is room for brains in there. If ever in our history we needed a forward thinking leader, it is now. Vote Republican and slip another ten trillion dollars under the door.

  • The 20 year lead in space championed by President John F. Kennedy was almost dismally abandoned by the President Nixon Administration.Now President Bush wants to adultrate the space programs even further by sending Haliburton to the Moon to mine helium-3.

    I must have missed that. Can you point to some kind of policy directive, or something? Or is this just more Bush Derangement Syndrome?

    I find it very frustrating to have to defend George Bush, because his administration is indeed flawed in so many legitimate ways (just as I find it very frustrating to have to defend the Shuttle), but I get tired of seeing mindless and ignorant rants about either.

  • Sorry, that was supposed to be:

    The 20 year lead in space championed by President John F. Kennedy was almost dismally abandoned by the President Nixon Administration.

    No, it was abandoned by the Johnson Administration. This stuff is in the history books, you know.

    Now President Bush wants to adultrate the space programs even further by sending Haliburton to the Moon to mine helium-3.

    I must have missed that. Can you point to some kind of policy directive, or something? Or is this just more Bush Derangement Syndrome?

    I find it very frustrating to have to defend George Bush, because his administration is indeed flawed in so many legitimate ways (just as I find it very frustrating to have to defend the Shuttle), but I get tired of seeing mindless and ignorant rants about either.

  • Guess who just endorsed the Black-JFK (Obama)???

    The most urgent problem facing republicans is an Obama ticket.
    Unless they move way from their comfort zone of trotting out old hack candidates with worn messages they are the dead-party-walking and lose the Nov. elections.

    What will NASA look like under an Obama admin.?

  • Habitat Hermit

    “What will NASA look like under an Obama admin.?”

    Preschool? ^_^

  • [...] audience that has been supportive of Giuliani’s recent space policy comments is The Mars Society, which issued a press release yesterday (not yet on its web site) about those [...]

  • Chance

    “No, it was abandoned by the Johnson Administration. This stuff is in the history books, you know.”

    This statement begs for more explanation.

  • Actually, I am fairly optimistic that Nasa under a President Obama could be really good, and retty impressive. Obama has a pretty good track record when it comes to technology, and technological solutions.

    I admit my suspicion is that this was given to a a low level person, and was drawn up rather quickly. I have every expectation that once Obama learns of the importance and capablities of space, he’ll come around.

  • Obama has a pretty good track record when it comes to technology, and technological solutions.

    Given his limited experience, how did he compile such a record? Could you elaborate?

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