During the 2008 election season the people of Florida’s Space Coast were nervous. The shuttle was set to retire and the Constellation Program that was set to replace the shuttle – was having problems. Enter Candidate Obama. Initially he stated that he would suspend NASA’s manned program for five years to support his education agenda. His numbers in Florida and other states with NASA centers – tanked. So he took a trip down to Brevard County, home of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center – and told the concerned workforce there – that they had a friend in him. He promised to support the new program, give them an additional shuttle flight and make everything okay.
Despite what Obama-supporters wish was true – this is the ‘inconvenient truth’ of the matter. August 2, 2008 he stated to these people that for 50 years made the space age – a reality that, “We can do anything when we put our mind to it.” He says, yet after safely elected (and on the seventh anniversary of the Columbia Tragedy no less) his FY 2011 Budget was released. In it, it showed what he truly thought of NASA.
After the shuttle program was retired – there would be no successor program. Constellation would be scrapped and funding would instead go to liberal causes such as climate monitoring and green technology development. NASA would be taken out of the manned space flight business and that would be handed over to private companies – none of whom have any experience sending humans into orbit.
However, we should all go back to the campaign trail and review his presentation and his promises and see how they held up. For instance, his podium reads, “Economic Security” a statement that hardly describes the 12 percent unemployment rate along America’s Space Coast after his disastrous about face. Now, you are probably wondering what I mean when I say ‘about face.’ To answer, I will use the president’s own words against him, something I’m sure his supporters wish I wouldn’t do.
His own words: “NASA inspired the world…” One must ask, then why Mr. President have you shunned NASA, the agency that put America into space for 50 years in favor of start ups? Why were the men and women of NASA not allowed to attend your speech at Kennedy Space Center on April 15, 2010? Why didn’t you visit Space Launch Complex 41? Or Launch Complex 39a (where the shuttle launches from)? Why did you only visit Space Launch Complex 40 – where SpaceX launches from? Why, when you finally did visit KSC – did you snub NASA employees?
His own words: “I’m going to close the gap…” How Mr. President? By having NASA dismantle its infrastructure? By having those with the necessary knowledge look for work in the automobile, security and ‘green’ industries (as suggested by the Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development)? The task force’s website that made these recommendations has a website and the image on it? Obama inspecting SpaceX’s launch site – again another slight toward NASA and yet another indication as to how the president views the accomplishments of NASA and the space industry.
His own words: “…by speeding the development of the shuttle’s successor…” Mr. President – you tried to completely cancel Orion and when the political fallout became to much for you, you reluctantly agreed to a stripped-down “Constellation-prize” for NASA. Actions speak far louder than words.
His own words: “…by making sure that all those who work in the space industry do not lose their jobs when the shuttle is retired, because we can’t afford to lose their expertise…” So much for that Mr. President. If anything, even your most ardent supporter has to label that a lie worthy of a Clinton.
His own words: “moon, Mars and beyond…” Mr. President, this last choice of words was designed to leave no doubt in the minds of potential voters – that you would support Constellation. Why? For those that don’t follow the space program, the Constellation Program was a part of the ‘Vision for Space Exploration’ – it’s motto? ‘Moon, Mars and Beyond.’
Now, I’ve taken the time, broken it down and provided you with the links for you to read yourself. The video for you to watch for yourself. To show – that this isn’t a hatchet job – these are his words. However, he didn’t act alone and he had elected officials assist him. In all fairness, including these new companies into the ‘NASA family’ – is exactly what the space agency needs. However, gutting what exists in favor of them is the exactly wrong thing to do. Congress, for one brief moment in time, recognized this and two bills emerged.
One, would have balanced things out – it of course made too much sense and could not be allowed to survive. The other bill, S. 3279, the one that leaned more toward the president’s wishes was of course the one that made it through. However, for those that understand that mankind’s future rests amongst the stars – there is a recourse. Votes have their consequences. Those that stood by as thousands were forced into the unemployment line, that smiled as the president exited Air Force One – work at the pleasure of those whose decisions handed them their pink slips.
Up until the release of NASA’s 2011 FY Budget – I really didn’t have much of an opinion about our president. He has since made sure that I have had a very definite opinion about him. I am certain his supporters will label this an ‘anti-Obama rant.’ I care about the American space program and am not willing to sell it out for my political beliefs. Therefore I do not endorse Obama, his appointees or (most importantly) those that supported his destructive efforts. Therefore I recommend voters that believe as I do, that America can still reclaim its greatness – to hand those that have worked to dismantle our civil space program – their pink slips come election day. Unfortunately, the president’s name is not on the ballot – but it will be in two years time.