February 5, 2010

Obama Cuts NASA Funding

There was a time when Americans had the right stuff and boldly led the world in going where no man had gone before. Apparently, that time has passed. Barack Obama’s 2011 NASA budget request will effectively terminate America’s manned space flight program, leaving space exploration leadership to the Chinese and the Russians.

Obama’s new plans, which laughably claim to be a “bold new approach,” would terminate NASA’s Constellation Program, which would have replaced the retiring Space Shuttles with a new crew vehicle, as well as building the new launchers required to get America back to the moon and on to Mars.

This plan leans heavily on commercial space companies to develop new vehicles to get U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS). Although the time frame is left open, it’s certainly not any time soon. In the meantime, the U.S. will pay the Russians for taxi rides to the ISS.

On the other hand, Obama’s plan would expand NASA’s role in earth climate observations, apparently in hopes of further propping up the collapsing global warming fraud. In short, the U.S. is left with no vision, no destination, and no inspiration.

While there are legitimate questions about the federal government’s role in space flight, and we applaud the move to push development of private space enterprises, the U.S. space program, or lack thereof, has national security implications. Apollo and its forerunners were a powerful weapon in the Cold War, and NASA’s technological innovations and considerable world prestige clearly helped to defeat the Soviet Union. What would the impact be on the U.S. if, in the year 2020, we’re treated to beautiful, hi-def images from the moon of Chinese taikonauts at Tranquility Base, kicking down the American flag and replacing it, permanently, with a Chinese flag?

If humanity is going to the stars, however quickly or slowly, shouldn’t Americans be leading the way?

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