Scott Spencer is something of an underdog running for the Democratic nomination for Delaware’s sole House seat against former lieutenant governor John Carney. And Delaware isn’t known for its space industry outside of perhaps ILC Dover. Those items alone, though, aren’t the only things that make curious a letter to President Obama from the candidate about the administration’s space policy. What’s also interesting is who Spencer recruited as a coauthor: Chris Kraft, the legendary former flight director and head of the Johnson Space Center.
In the two-page letter, the two argue that the White House’s new plan for NASA “fails to consider the two principals that have been essential to successful U.S. manned space flight for nearly 50 years – proficiency and redundancy.” They argue that NASA should instead fly the shuttle at least three times a year for an unspecified period, and that “a specific schedule of manned moon missions resume by 2020″. (The letter does not mention Constellation, Ares, or Orion by name.) How much extra it would cost to continue flying the shuttle while also ramping up the development of Constellation (or some other system) to permit human lunar missions in ten years, and where that money should come from given heightened concerns about budget deficits, isn’t addressed in the letter.