Today, President Obama outlined a plan for the future of NASA that was heavy on rhetoric but woefully light on substance. Under his plan, America’s ability to send humans into space will be put on hold, indefinitely. Decades of American leadership in space will be forfeited to Russia and China, who will be the sole gatekeepers to the final frontier.
The President’s plan scraps the six years and $9 billion of time and taxpayer money that have been invested in the Constellation program. It carelessly casts aside the proven technology developed through the program and literally sends us back to the drawing board. While I support allowing the private sector access to space, I believe it is foolhardy to rely on unproven technology to maintain America’s strategic edge. This would be akin to privatizing the Navy and simply renting out the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman any time we needed to defend ourselves. It is with this in mind that I share Neil Armstrong’s objection that this decision places the American space program “on a long downhill slide to mediocrity.”
America should never be associated with mediocrity. We need to utilize the technology developed under the Constellation program to the fullest extent. This is the best way to end America’s lack of access to space and boldly take Americans to unexplored regions of deep space.