In an opinion piece, One giant leap backwards, Robert Rivers, a former NASA test pilot and NASA’s first Aviation Professional in 2001, calls to task not only the Obama Administration for its cancellation of Project Constellation and its budgetary justification for doing so.
As Rivers, notes,
NASA’s 2009 budget of around $17.8 billion was less than 0.6% of the 2009 Federal budget. It was less than 1.3% of the 2009 budget deficit. More money is spent in a week and a half on Medicare and Medicaid by the federal government than on NASA in a year. Giving NASA the few billions needed to complete Constellation would not make a dent in the deficit, it turns out.
This is an editorial by someone who actually has been a player in keeping America ahead of the pack in aviation technology. Hopefully, some will listen.
It has come to this: Constellation is likely the only possible program capable of delivering a human-rated American launcher to reach our space station before it is deactivated in 2020. The decision to cancel Constellation is a catastrophe for the American human space program. It is up to Congress now. Reform NASA’s management culture, put Constellation on the fast track, and apply some rudimentary logic to the NASA budget process. The return on investment can be extraordinary, and America can continue our giant leap for mankind by establishing a permanent lunar base in the next decade as a rational beginning in the journey to Mars and beyond.
(Via The Daily Caller.)