Space History, Space Future: Part I « Astronaut Tom Jones: Flight Notes

AmericaSpace Note AmericaSpace is a big fan of Astronaut Tom Jones. This is another one of his great posts, consisting of remarks he made at the September 14th Aerospace Industries Association panel discussion on space history and policy on Capitol Hill. Here is a brief summary of some of his thoughts during the discussion, made in his post, Space History, Space Future: Part I. In his post, he presents an an excellent discussion of what motivated Jones to become an astronaut and his path to flying 4 missions on the Space Shuttle. His astronaut experience culminated with his work delivering the Discovery Lab to ISS and its activation.

    1.Promised support by the administration and its OMB should be delivered – not doing so is demoralizing to the nation and to NASA’s team of highly skilled explorers. The Congress has the oversight responsibility to ensure that NASA’s goals are matched by available funding.

    2. Without long-term support from Congress and the administration, NASA cannot attract a new generation of young explorers. Just continuing with the ISS and buying access to space from the Russians is not sufficiently exciting to young students considering an aerospace or high-tech career.

    3. The Augustine Committee last fall explicitly called for a space program worthy of a great nation. The cost of that program is not $19 billion annually, just because that has what historically has been made available. That figure is not based on the facts of a truly ambitious exploration program. Chronic underfunding has been the major cause of NASA’s failure over the past two decades to create beyond-LEO hardware and programs.”

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