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Reactions to Cancellation of Constellation February 3, 2010

Posted by Nick Azer in NASA, Obama, private sector, Sen. Bill Nelson, Senate.

The Obama administration’s cancellation of the Constellation program (and its plan to return to the Moon) has understandably sparked quite a, ah, constellation of reactions and commentary. Here’s a quick look at the spectrum:

First and foremost, and most telling, is what current NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said about the decision:

“The truth is that we were not on a path to get back to the moon’s surface.” –Charles Bolden

That suggests there were far deeper issues at hand than just Ares and various delays, and that Constellation’s future had developed into a black hole. That complicates the efforts of many in Congress (usually from constituencies with many NASA jobs) to fire ‘salvos‘ back and keep the program:

“We’re going to have to get the president to do more for NASA. America’s global leadership in science and technology is at stake if we don’t maintain a more robust space exploration program.” –Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)

“The cancellation of Orion is especially troubling and goes against the recommendations of the Augustine Commission.  The State of Florida has made significant investments to prepare KSC facilities for Orion, and the Space Coast anticipated, invested in, and planned for the commitment to be fulfilled in order to help preserve jobs.” –Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL)

While Congress is clearly not thrilled (unless you’ve got a private spaceport developing in your backyard), private space is happy to take on the mantle:

“President Obama has given NASA a bold and exciting new mission: to once again push the limits in technology and exploration, promote innovation, and foster a vibrant commercial spaceflight sector…This initiative is on par with the government Airmail Act that spurred the growth of early aviation and led to today’s passenger airline industry, which generates billions of dollars annually for the American economy.” –Bretton Alexander, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

All of this, Bolden’s quote in particular, is, I think, neatly bookended by the expression today from a certain lunar authority:

Thank you, Mr. President.” –Buzz Aldrin



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