Transcript of Obama Aug. 2, 2008 Titusville Speech:
All those things are just in the short term to tide people over. But we’ve got to rebuild our economy in a much more fundamental way. We’ve got to secure our long-term prosperity and strengthen our economy for the 21st Century. This is where the issue that Bill Nelson brought up is relevant. One of the areas in which we are in danger of loosing our competative edge is in science and technology, and nothing symbolizes that more than our space program.
I’ve written about this in my book. I grew up in Hawaii. And I still remember sitting on my Grandfather’s shoulders as some of the astronauts were brought-in after their capsules had landed in middle of the Pacific. I could barely see them; I was waving at an American Flag. I remember my Grandfather explaining to me this is what America is all about. We can do anything when we put our mind to it. We can do anything when we put our mind to it. And that was what the space program described, that sense of possibility, of always reaching-out to new frontiers. When I was growing-up, NASA inspired the world with achievements that we are still proud of. Today we have an Administration that sets ambitious goals for NASA without giving NASA the support it needs to reach them. As a result, NASA has had to cut-back on research and trim their program, which means that after the Space Shuttle shuts down in 2010 we are going to have to rely on Russian spacecraft to keep us in orbit.
Let me be clear…
We cannot cede our leadership in space. That’s why I will help close the gap and ensure that our space program doesn’t suffer when the Shuttle goes out of service by working with Senator Bill Nelson to add at least one additional Space Shuttle flight beyond 2010; by supporting continued funding for NASA; by speeding the development of the Shuttle’s successor; and by making sure that all those who work in the space industry in Florida do not lose their jobs when the Shuttle is retired – because we cannot afford to lose their expertise.
More broadly, we need a real vision for space exploration. To help formulate this vision, I’ll reestablish the National Aeronautics and Space Council so that we can develop a plan to explore the solar system – a plan that involves both human and robotic missions, and enlists both international partners and the private sector. And as America leads the world to long-term exploration of the moon, Mars, and beyond, let’s also tap NASA’s ingenuity to build the airplanes of tomorrow and to study our own planet so we can combat global climate change. Under my watch, NASA will inspire the world, make America stronger, and help grow the economy here in Florida.