Monday, January 30, 2012

T Minus 1 Day in Florida

With the retirement of the Shuttles, NASA layoffs and a general lack of direction, it has been easy to believe that Washington does not care for spaceflight. Thanks to the Florida primary, for the last week Space has been an issue in the US. Newt Gingrich, with the audacity of hope, called for a Moonbase by the year 2021. Last week, Space an Issue For 2012? this blog suggested that Mitt Romney come up with a turnaround strategy. Along with a changing speed of light, this prediction has come true.

Friday a letter supporting Romney appeared signed by eight Space notables. These included Mike Griffin, former NASA administrator and architect of the Constellation Program. The list also included Eric Andersen, CEO of Space Adventures, astronauts Gene Cernan and Bob Crippen. In October 2010 Cernan, Neil Armstrong and Jim Lovell signed their own letter severely criticizing what has happened to NASA. Cernan has also called upon NASA administrator Charlie Bolden to resign.

Text of Letter from

"The U.S. space program is a strategic national asset, which makes critical contributions to our scientific knowledge, technological innovation, economic competitiveness, national security, and international leadership. We have watched with dismay as President Obama dismantled the structure that was guiding both the government and commercial space sectors, while providing no purpose or vision or mission. This failure of leadership has thrust the space program into disarray and triggered a dangerous erosion of our technical workforce and capabilities. In short, we have a space program unworthy of a great nation."

Newt Gingrich's call for a Moonbase ignited a debate about Space. The quick response, with experts on board, shows Mitt Romney's organizational skills. Unlike Gingrich, Romney has not yet offered a specific goal for Space. The competitiveness of this race has forced the Space issue into the open. Whatever the results of tomorrow's primary, whoever ends up in the White House, he will have a promise to keep.