Former astronaut Mark Kelly—perhaps best known as the husband of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords—reveals in an op-ed in the Orlando Sentinel that he initially was not a suporter of the Obama Administration’s change in direction for NASA. “I was not a fan at first of canceling the Constellation rocket program. I worried about what it would mean for NASA’s overall mission, and what it would do to the brilliant and patriotic men and women who work there,” he writes.
That assessment has changed, though, he says. “I’m impressed by how far SpaceX has come in the past 17 months,” he states, referring to the company’s Dragon test flight to the ISS this week. “The dramatic cost savings of commercial spaceflight — savings we need to reduce the deficit and grow our economy — let us expand the frontiers of space and stay at the forefront of technological innovation.”
He goes on to express support for various aspects of the administration’s efforts, from commercial crew to infrastructure upgrades at the Kennedy Space Center. “The president made a tough, bold decision — and I now believe he was right,” he concludes. Ironically, it was his wife who, in the debate on the NASA authorization act of 2010 on the House floor, spoke out against the bill that enshrined many elements of the administration’s plan into law.