Search This Blog


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Obama Would Delay Moon Return

Listen-up Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic pro-space advocates!

Space News [subscription req.] is reporting that Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama of Illinois would delay NASA's Constellation program by five years in order to help pay for the $18 billion education initiative he unveiled in a Nov. 20 speech at a high school in New Hampshire.

The Illinois Senator said, "The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years" which would result in a nearly decade delay in a U.S. government human space program.

Obama's position compares unfavorably to the position of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton who said Oct. 4 "As President, part of my mission will be to reclaim our role as the innovation leader. I will pursue an ambitious agenda in space exploration and earth sciences. I'll fully fund NASA's earth sciences program, launch a new, comprehensive space-based study of climate change, and reverse the deep funding cuts that NASA's and FAA's aeronautics research and development budgets have endured in the last few years."

Senator Clinton recently co-sponsored the $1-billion dollar supplemental to NASA that has now stalled in a Senate-House budget conference committee.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, a strong advocate of his state's new commercial spaceport, proposed an education program without cuts to NASA last month. Richardson is gaining momentum in New Hampshire among Democratic primary voters.

Stay tuned! Both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates need to be clear on their positions so pro-space advocates may be as clear in their voting decisions as well. Obama's position is "totally unacceptable."


jason t. said...

I'd be curious to know Barack Obama's position on unmanned space exploration.

I've always been fervent about the space program, and for a long time had trouble letting go of the cool factor of humans exploring space personally.

But robotic probes and instruments have been, and will be, so much more important to our exploration and understanding of the universe. This won't always be the case but it will be this way for a long time to come, as we take first steps into space.

One reason is cost and complexity of missions: probes are dirt cheap compared to human-crewed missions, and everything is greatly simplified in mission design if humans don't have to be taken care of.

We've hardly started exploring. At this point each probe can teach us as much as a manned mission does, and for a tiny fraction of the cost.

Outdoorsman said...

I've been reading this blog for several years now. Sorry, but I am one of those that believe the Federal government needs to get out of the space business. That is not to say that State governments cannot have a hand in it, as some are beginning to.

There are other issues going into this election that are so critical that I strongly hope that people are not going to choose a candidate to support based only on their position on space exploration and space business.

Things like the Iraq War (Obama and Hillary would more-or-less continue the Bush approach there), the Patriot Act (I know I'm bothered by having my rights as an American repealed - aren't you?), ever-increasing Federal programs and deficit (Our country is getting poorer - as would anyone who doesn't live below their means), and the progression towards a police-state in this country.

I, for one, would like to see ideas of liberty in actual practice when humankind moves out in great numbers. If we spread into space, but have lost who we are and have lost our liberties, we will simply spread tyranny to the stars. I would like to see a space civilization based on liberty.

Obama and Hillary won't do anything about that. They might support your favorite Federal space programs, but the rest of their policies will do us in. Most of the Republican candidates will do us in too.

Thing is, we don't need the Federal government for this stuff. State governments can pick up the mantle, and probably with much more efficiency. Businesses, too, can pick up the mantle. I wonder how far along in space we'd be if the Federal government had gotten out of the way years ago. After all, the recent progress towards opening space was done by the private sector, not the government.

We need to get the Federal government OUT of the space business (beyond necessary legal regulations, that is) and let the private sector pick up the ball and run with it.

Space is very important, I agree. But it's time for the Federals to step out.

Please don't evaluate these candidates on a single issue alone. We are in a crisis as a nation and if we don't keep who we are as a nation, it won't be a free people going out there anymore.

I respectfully suggest taking a look at Ron Paul for President.

Thanks for reading.

Rainer said...

The truth is that the Constellation program received no special funding. Actually, it is funded by deep cuts in NASA's scientific programs. If now even more money is taken away from NASA, that would IMHO seriously compromise its ability to do any useful work at all. Not to mention the US dependency on Russia to gain access to space...

jason32473 said...

What amazes me is when people like outdoorsman that say the government should get out of the space business. The country would not be where we are today if that were the belief of law makers. The truth is that canceling these programs would put around 300,000 employees in the unemployment line. This includes all the NASA sights, contractors, and subcontractors. I myself would be affected in that I am employed by a contractor. Companies would not quickly pick up the slack because space is a long term investment and in today’s market companies look for the quick buck. The Chinese however have no problem funding their program and beating us. They are in go mode right now and we cannot let down our guard. I'm sorry Outdoorsman but your idea is ambitious but not logical.