While her subcommittee’s hearing on the NASA budget last week as postponed, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) did get an opportunity to speak briefly about the agency’s new direction at the end of an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” program yesterday. Asked by host Candy Crowley about the president’s decision “to end all funding for manned missions to the moon”, Mikulski reiterated previous statements that her top concern was astronaut safety. She also said that “we need a lot more fact finding” about the plan, including the apparent lack of a destination for space exploration.
The relevant excerpt of the interview is below:
CROWLEY: Senator Mikulski, I want — because we are so running out of time here, and I wanted to get to a question that’s specific to a responsibility that you have in the U.S. Senate. And that is, the president’s decision to stop funding, to end all funding for manned missions to the moon. Do you support that?
MIKULSKI: Well, I support astronaut safety. The No. 1 concern I have is wherever we go, whatever means is astronaut safety.
The other is, I think it is very confusing now, because we don’t know what our space destination is, and, therefore, our space mission. I think we need a lot more fact finding. We need to know a lot more from the administration. But one thing we know, we will always do everything to keep our astronauts safe, whatever is the mode of transportation.