In a strong analysis titled, Sen. John Glenn’s statement regarding NASA manned space flight, former Senator John Glenn makes a strong case for a common sense human space flight program and concludes in part the following,
Extend the Shuttle. It is key to ISS ready access.
Phase-in new space access providers only as they become experienced and have proven reliability.
Develop a fully tested replacement heavy-lift capability.
Most importantly, pay for it.
We can only hope some who once worked for the Senator will follow that advice.
Missions » ISS »
“Under NASA’s very close direction, every manned U.S. spacecraft has been built by commercial companies. In fact, 83% of NASA’s budget goes to commercial entities. Depending on commercial companies is not new. That process has included strong NASA control, oversight and safety concerns. It is a procedure developed over many years and with great care. It has worked well. Change should be made with utmost caution and only if it brings some major advantage.
What is new is placing 100% confidence in smaller, less experienced companies if the Shuttles are retired, with no backup, for extremely complex missions. I am glad to see multi-company interest in commercial space development, but at this early stage of their experience they should be phased in only after they demonstrate a high degree of competency and reliability, particularly with regard to safety concerns.” Sen. John Glenn