The Soyuz Problem

I admit it–I don’t understand Senator Bill Nelson’s 180 degree turn from just a few months ago when he was promoting continued Shuttle flights to fill in the Gap to today’s word that he’s pimping for another INKSA (Iran, North Korea, & Syrian Non-proliferation Act) so that NASA can purchase rides on Soyuz for the 5 year gap between retiring the Shuttle and first flight of Orion/Ares. Fortunately, Representative Dave Weldon (R, FL-15) is going to try to put a stake in the heart of the INKSA request.

Why the dramatic turn-around by Senator Nelson? First guess would be politics; maybe Senator Nelson got word that his man Obama has no plans to pay for both continued Shuttle flights and accelerating Orion/Ares if he’s President? It didn’t help that NASA Admin also did a 180, likely driven by White House anger at his “leaked” email a week ago.

One has to ask the question of whethed America is willing to bear any burden, pay any cost to be a world leader. To keep the Shuttle flying during the 2010-2015 gap is guesstimated at $3.5-$4 billion a year. Apparently, that amount is a burden and a price that America’s leaders are unwilling to bear or pay. Profiles in courage?

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