Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan Say Obama Is Killing Space Program
    By Hank Campbell | May 25th 2011 08:03 PM | 2 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    50 years ago, Alan Shepard became the first American in space and President Kennedy challenged science, engineering and US citizenry to do what most thought to be impossible - put a man on the Moon.   They succeeded and that and successive space achievements spurred their interest in science and engineering among young people education.

    But NASA gradually lost its way.   The space shuttle was an incremental development and in 2004 President Bush declared he wanted to renew America's science initiatives in space and by 2005 NASA was developing the Constellation program, focusing on a return to the moon while simultaneously developing the plans and techniques to venture beyond, and eventually to Mars.

    The program enjoyed near-unanimous support, being approved and endorsed by the Bush administration and by both Democratic and Republican Congresses but, like everything NASA does these days, Constellation went over budget and fell behind schedule.


    In 2010, Pres. Obama pulled the plug on Constellation (see Goodbye Constellation, Hello ... Baracket?) and replaced it with an expensive, yet less ambitious new idea that, coincidentally, has his name on it rather than Pres. Bush.  Basically, Pres. Obama does not seem to care about space.  Whether or not NASA has earned his scorn with its consistent overruns and lack of initiative (as noted in 50 Years Of Manned Space Flight - An Interview With A Lead Engineer For The Mercury Program it needn't take 16 years to go back to the Moon since we already know how to do it and it only took 10 years when we had no idea at all how it could be done) is up to speculation, yet Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan, no strangers to the power of American initiative when it is mobilized, pull no punches on Obama:
    NASA's human spaceflight program is in substantial disarray with no clear-cut mission in the offing. We will have no rockets to carry humans to low-Earth orbit and beyond for an indeterminate number of years. Congress has mandated the development of rocket launchers and spacecraft to explore the near-solar system beyond Earth orbit. But NASA has not yet announced a convincing strategy for their use. After a half-century of remarkable progress, a coherent plan for maintaining America's leadership in space exploration is no longer apparent.

    Comments

    Consider that more and more Americans are having serious doubts about the validity of NASA. And that unlike those men, most Americans do not sit on the corporate boards in the aerospace-military industry. OK sure it would be nice to have Americans riding around in dune buggies and golfing on the moon but that would be rather silly wouldn't it? Our economy is in shambles and millions are out of work and these 'heroes' are whining about not spending billions of tax dollars on unnecessary things? Shame on them! Sorry we don't all have the pay-off that they do.

    Hank
    We've certainly criticized modern NASA here - the original was a lean organization that farmed out stuff to the private sector, not a self-perpetuating bureaucracy - but Obama isn't representing the American people or saving money when he arbitrarily cancels one program and replaces it with another that has his name on it.   

    It would be like if Nixon canceled the Apollo program because it would make Kennedy famous.