Although the only details about what might (or might not) be in the White House’s new space exploration have come through assorted media reports, that hasn’t stopped one member of Congress from sounding the alarm, and loudly. Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL), a leading advocate for extending the shuttle, issued a statement today criticizing the plan as reported. It’s not up on his web site yet, so here it is below:
President’s NASA “Plan” Is A Giant Leap Backwards and Would Be Devastating to America’s Space Program and the Space Coast
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) released the following statement in reaction to news reports that the Obama Administration is preparing to eliminate America’s next generation space vehicle to invest in earth sciences:
“Although Congress awaits the President’s official budget request next week, I am deeply concerned over news reports citing Administration officials that the President seems determined to abdicate America’s leadership in human space exploration. Just weeks before the 2008 election, then-Senator Obama came though Central Florida promising the nation and the residents of Brevard County that if elected President, he would close the space gap and keep America first in space. If this news report is even half right, this plan, if you can call it a plan, would be a devastating reversal of that commitment.
“This Administration has thrown hundreds of billions of dollars into a failed stimulus bill, but when it comes to keeping America first in space his ‘plan’ is to cancel the development of America’s next human space vehicle, outsource our good-paying Shuttle jobs to the Russians, place all of our hopes on a yet unproven commercial adventure, rush/force the transition to yet unproven commercial alternatives, and shifts money from human space flight to global warming research.
“Until we have a clearer plan for the future, the only realistic and reasonable way to preserve America’s leadership in space is too [sic] provide for a temporary extension of the Shuttle. To terminate the Shuttle later this year with no plan, but rather a vain hope, is ill advised.
“My biggest fear is that this amounts to a slow death of our nation’s human space flight program; a retreat from America’s decades of leadership in space, ending the economic advantages that our space program has brought to the U.S., and ceding space to the Russians, Chinese and others. I will do all that I can to stop this ill-advised plan.
“The President’s U-turn on this issue is both bizarre and misguided. I will continue to work with my House colleagues from both parties and from across the country to keep America first in space. This issue is far from over.”