While a lot has been written about Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s proposal for a lunar base by 2020 and related initiatives, Space News has some insights from the candidate on some more near-term space issues. Regarding the Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket and Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), he said he’d want to examine them in “the context of how rapidly alternatives could be developed and whether or not there was a way to actually have lots of competition to actually fly something.”
Gingrich added that the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) needs a “serious review” in light of its cost overruns. “The fact that the Webb telescope has gone from $1.5 billion to $9 billion — and I’m told that people don’t believe that at $9 billion it’s going to be on budget — at some point you have to stop and say, ‘There’s something systemically wrong when you get into this scale of an overrun.’”
Meanwhile, Gingrich’s rival, Mitt Romney, will likely expound on his space policy ideas later today in a campaign appearance in Cape Canaveral. The time has shifted to later in the day—4:45 pm—at an Astrotech Space Operations facility. However, Rick Santorum has canceled an appearance on Florida’s Space Coast. He was scheduled to speak at a luncheon Saturday, but informed event organizers yesterday he would not be able to attend for undisclosed reasons.