Campaign '08

News from the convention

No, not much space-related news from Denver, but a couple of minor items. One, a snippet from Sen. Ted Kennedy’s speech last night:

We are told that Barack Obama believes too much in an America of high principle and bold endeavor, but when John Kennedy called of going to the moon, he didn’t say it’s too far to get there. We shouldn’t even try.

Our people answered his call and rose to the challenge, and today an American flag still marks the surface of the moon.

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, we are all Americans. This is what we do. We reach the moon. We scale the heights. I know it. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. And we can do it again.

Second, and of more direct relevance to contemporary space policy, Sen. Bill Nelson warned that John McCain would “savage” the space program if elected president, Florida Today reported. That’s apparently a reference to McCain’s plans, announced earlier this year, to freeze non-defense discretionary spending for a year, even though the McCain campaign more recently has promised to “commit to funding the NASA Constellation program to ensure it has the resources it needs”.

Nelson also took a little credit for the Obama space policy announced earlier this month. I’ve discussed with Barack several nuances and details that he put in his program for space,” Nelson said at a breakfast meeting with organized labor in Denver. “The space program is the symbol of this nation’s technological prowess and Barack understands that, just as John Kennedy understood it.”

13 comments to News from the convention

  • Well, Rand, a quick look at human history should show that myths are far more important to human outlooks, thoughts, and actions, than mere facts. In the sense that sending humans to the moon in the 1960s was a supremely difficult achievement that was achieved, comparing it to other difficult things we would like to do, makes perfect sense.

    Far more interesting to me is that Mr. Kennidy, who has hardly been out in front of the queue in supporting human spaceflight, actually said this. Is it politics, a recognition of any greater importance spaceflight may have to this election? Has the impending end of his life and / or conditions in the world around him made him reconsider a long-held belief? Is this something the Obama crowd asked him to say? Any of these would be an interesting development. . . .

    — Donald

  • MarkWhittington

    Actually Teddy Kennedy could care less about Apollo as an accomplishment in and of itself. For him, Apollo is a metaphor for what he considers the real work of government, which is providing health care and other goodies to everyone, at the cost of freedom and, of course, very high taxes.

  • MrEarl

    Just published on NASA Watch is reference to a letter sent to President Bush asking NASA to take no action that would preclude the use of the shuttle for one year. http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_space_thewritestuff/files/mccain_vitter_hutchison_letter_on_russia_space.pdf
    This was sent by senator’s McCain, Hutchinson and Vitter.
    This was brought about by Russia’s actions in Georgia and the congress’s and many others beliefs, that Russia can no longer be thought of as a reliable ally with the ISS.
    That would make the most sense in light of what has just happened. I would hope that we could keep the shuttle operating at two flights a year until the Orian space craft is ready or preferably COTS – D can provide human access to the space station. I fear what will most likely happen is that the mission of the shuttle will be extended past 2010 without any additional funding essentially starving both COTS and Orian not to mention the rest of NASA.

  • MrEarl: I fear what will most likely happen is that the mission of the shuttle will be extended past 2010 without any additional funding essentially starving both COTS and Orian not to mention the rest of NASA.

    That is by far the most likely outcome, which is why there should be no backsliding on the retirement of the Shuttle.

    — Donald

  • Anon

    Donald,

    The letter also calls for speeding the creation of a robust commercial US spaceflight Industry. Sounds like a call for funding COTS-D to me :-)

    And this is in a letter to the president requesting action, not a mere campiagn document…

    http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_space_thewritestuff/files/mccain_vitter_hutchison_letter_on_russia_space.pdf

  • Engineering Lead

    “That is by far the most likely outcome, which is why there should be no backsliding on the retirement of the Shuttle.”

    “The letter also calls for speeding the creation of a robust commercial US spaceflight Industry. Sounds like a call for funding COTS-D to me.”

    These two goals may sound mutually conflicting in the light of the problems with Ares and Orion (or equivalently Constellation as a whole) but it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Cancel Constellation, and use the Shuttle to transition to a RATIONAL second generation vehicle, using the SSMEs.

    That way, everybody wins, and we’ll be all the way to Phobos, Deimos and Ceres by 2020, bypassing the Moon and Mars entirely. Ares I is DEAD.

    Anyone who thinks Constellation isn’t dead will soon get their reality check.

    I’m guessing the color of that check will be pink. Patience for Griffin is thin.

  • I see that the troll Elifritz has come up with yet another pseudonym. Now it’s “Engineering Lead.”

  • anonymous.space

    “Actually Teddy Kennedy could care less about Apollo as an accomplishment in and of itself.”

    How do you know? Evidence?

    “For him, Apollo is a metaphor for what he considers the real work of government, which is providing health care and other goodies to everyone, at the cost of freedom and, of course, very high taxes.”

    You actually know that inside Kennedy’s mind, he thinks of Apollo in metaphorical terms for government programs?

    Weird…

  • Charles Lurio

    I believe that Ted was the guy directly responsible for cancelling the two or three Apollo missions that were still planned after 17 as of early 1969. I recall hearing that he’d killed them just a few weeks before 11 lifted off.

    JFK had not much more interest in space per se (if any) than his brother(s) ever did. He told his advisors something like, “we all know Apollo is a waste of money [compared to the social programs we should really be doing] but the American people are demanding a response to the Russians…”

    (And yes, I’m sorry that Ted is so ill…but he has a seat for life, no matter how long that turns out to be. And not only do we have an all-Democrat Congressional delegation and Governor, but hardly any Republicans in the ‘Great and General Court’ – the state legislature.)

  • anonymous.space

    “I believe that Ted was the guy directly responsible for cancelling the two or three Apollo missions that were still planned after 17 as of early 1969. I recall hearing that he’d killed them just a few weeks before 11 lifted off.”

    Huh?

    NASA cancelled Apollo 20 in January 1970 and Apollo 18 and 19 in September 1970, seven months and more than a year, respectively, after (not a few weeks before) Apollo 11 in July 1969.

    And Ted Kennedy has held his Senate seat since 1962. He never held an Executive Branch position where he could singlehandedly cancel a NASA program. Are you confusing Ted with Robert Kennedy?

    C’mon guys…

  • Chuck2200

    Ted Kennedy’s reference to the Apollo program should be understood metaphorically. Notice he said:

    [quote]”We are told that Barack Obama believes too much in an America of high principle and bold endeavor, but when John Kennedy called of going to the moon, he didn’t say it’s too far to get there. We shouldn’t even try.”[/quote]

    He was using the Apollo effort to describe how the American people were willing to rise to the challenge to go and do something that was truly hard to do. When he said “we can do it again”, he wasn’t speaking about going back to the moon, he was speaking of the people being willing to roll up their sleeves and work at something truly hard. It was a tribute to the American spirit under the leadership of someone who can inspire them, something which George Bush has never done, and which he believes John McCain is also incapable of. His speech was about Barak Obama, not the Apollo program.

    Don’t read too much into what Ted said; he is well known for his metaphorical references. This is one of them.

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