A statement from Reps. Bart Gordon and Gabrielle Giffords, chair of the House Science and Technology Committee and its space subcommittee, respectively. Gordon:
While I plan to review the Augustine panel’s final report, the Science and Technology Committee’s September 15th hearing to review the panel’s summary report has already provided me with important information on the state of the nation’s human space flight programs. At that hearing, Mr. Augustine reported his panel’s assessment that a meaningful exploration program can’t be carried out under the budgetary projections that accompanied the Fiscal Year 2010 NASA budget request—that more money will be needed if we are to do anything worth doing as a nation. He also reported that his panel had assessed NASA’s Constellation program and found it to be ‘well managed’ and a program that is ‘executable and would carry out its objectives’ if adequate resources are provided.
While I look forward to reading the Augustine panel’s final report, Congress has already made its decisions on the issues considered by the panel. Now that both internal and external independent reviews have confirmed that the Constellation program is being well executed, we know what needs to be done. Let’s get on with it and cease contemplating our collective navels.
A statement from Rep. Pete Olson, ranking member of the space subcommittee:
It is my deep hope that the Administration responds to their panel’s work with a clear and sustainable path for the future of our human spaceflight program. We cannot at this juncture assume America’s continued leadership in space if we fail to make the commitments necessary to put us on the path to escaping low earth orbit and having a national program that yields scientific benefits, technology innovations, and a new generation of scientists and engineers. I urge President Obama to do the right thing and take this opportunity to enable America to maintain its global leadership in human spaceflight.
From Florida’s Space Coast, Rep. Suzanne Kosmas:
While I am in the process of reviewing the Augustine Committee’s final report, our earlier briefings confirm my belief that the President has both the obligation and the opportunity to reignite our nation’s passion for space exploration… Without question, NASA needs additional funding to conduct meaningful space exploration that will have long-lasting scientific, technological and economic benefits. In addition, aspects of our national security depend on our continuing pre-eminence in space exploration.
Also from the Space Coast, Rep. Bill Posey:
If the President is going to keep his promise to close the gap and keep America first in space he must revise his budget plan and put more money back into the NASA budget. I would fully support such a plan and, in fact, introduced a bill to do just this more than six months ago.
The report released today by the Augustine Commission lacks the ambition and drive that first put our astronauts in space, beat the Russians to the moon, and is synonymous with the American space program. Time and again, the Constellation program has proven to be the best and safest option to continue America’s legacy as the leader in manned spaceflight, but the full report seems to ignore many positive conclusion that demonstrates this.
NASA has made America what it is today, and both our space program and our brave astronauts who risk their lives deserve more than the rigid deductions reached by this blue ribbon panel. We have spent 10 months studying this to only yield incomplete results at best. The arguments that should have been made and the questions that should have been asked were ignored. These findings are incompatible with our national goals to return to the moon, mars and beyond, and we in Congress will not stand for it. We can do better.
Update: I overlooked this statement from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL):
“I’ve asked the president to use money from leftover stimulus funds,” said Nelson, in a prepared statement. “I’ve also asked him to help minimize the job losses after the space shuttle is retired, in part, by transferring other NASA-related work to Cape Canaveral.
“He’s assured me that NASA will get enough money to do what it does best: go explore the heavens,” Nelson said.