Although the Obama Administration won’t release its budget until Monday, the battle over the future of NASA has already begun. Administration officials have begun to outline their plans for the space agency, which include cancellation of the lunar program. Meanwhile, opposition is building on Capitol Hill. Florida Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) sent out a press release on Wednesday:
â€œAlthough Congress awaits the Presidentâ€™s official budget request next week, I am deeply concerned over news reports citing Administration officials that the President seems determined to abdicate Americaâ€™s leadership in human space exploration. Just weeks before the 2008 election, then-Senator Obama came though Central Florida promising the nation and the residents of Brevard County that if elected President, he would close the space gap and keep America first in space. If this news report is even half right, this plan, if you can call it a plan, would be a devastating reversal of that commitment.
â€œThis Administration has thrown hundreds of billions of dollars into a failed stimulus bill, but when it comes to keeping America first in space his â€˜planâ€™ is to cancel the development of Americaâ€™s next human space vehicle, outsource our good-paying Shuttle jobs to the Russians, rush/force the transition to yet unproven commercial alternatives, and shifts money from human space flight to global warming research.
â€œUntil we have a clearer plan for the future, the only realistic and reasonable way to preserve Americaâ€™s leadership in space is too provide for a temporary extension of the Shuttle. To terminate the Shuttle later this year with no plan, but rather a vain hope, is ill advised.
â€œMy biggest fear is that this amounts to a slow death of our nationâ€™s human space flight program; a retreat from Americaâ€™s decades of leadership in space, ending the economic advantages that our space program has brought to the U.S., and ceding space to the Russians, Chinese and others. I will do all that I can to stop this ill-advised plan.
â€œThe Presidentâ€™s U-turn on this issue is both bizarre and misguided. I will continue to work with my House colleagues from both parties and from across the country to keep America first in space. This issue is far from over.â€