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Obama makes Neil Armstrong cry?

[ All hail the dreams of the bureaucrats… ]

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Is Obama grounding JFK’s space legacy?

by Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Gene Cernan

“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”—President John F. Kennedy, Joint Session of Congress, May 25, 1961

Was President Kennedy a dreamer, a visionary, or simply politically astute? We may never know, but he had the courage to make that bold proposal 50 years ago Wednesday. The Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin had completed an orbit of the Earth the previous month and electrified the world. The United States had taken only one human, Alan Shepard, above 100 miles altitude and none into orbit. Americans, embarrassed by the successes of our Cold War adversary, were eager to demonstrate that we too were capable of great achievements in space.

President Kennedy called in the leaders of the nascent National Aeronautics and Space Administration for their opinion on any space goal that Uncle Sam could win. They concluded that the only possibility was a manned lunar landing, and that would include all the principal elements of human space travel.

The president decided this was the right project, the right time, and the Americans were the right people….

A half century has passed since Kennedy challenged our citizenry to do what most thought to be impossible. The subsequent American achievements in space were remarkable: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab. Our efforts enhanced international cooperation with Apollo-Soyuz, the space shuttle and the International Space Station. The compelling fascination of our space achievements among young people spurred their interest in education.

By 2005, in keeping with President Kennedy’s intent and America’s resolve, NASA was developing the Constellation program, focusing on a return to the moon while simultaneously developing the plans and techniques to venture beyond, and eventually to Mars.

The program enjoyed near-unanimous support, being approved and endorsed by the Bush administration and by both Democratic and Republican Congresses. However, due to its congressionally authorized funding falling victim to Office of Management and Budget cuts, earmarks and other unexpected financial diversions, Constellation fell behind schedule. An administration-appointed review committee concluded the Constellation program was “not viable” due to inadequate funding.

President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget did not include funds for Constellation, therefore essentially canceling the program. It sent shock waves throughout NASA, the Congress and the American people. Nearly $10 billion had been invested in design and development of the program.

Many respected experts and members of Congress voiced concern about the president’s proposal. Some supported the president’s plan,but most were critical. The supporters’ biases were often evident, particularly when there was a vested or economic interest in the outcome.

Obama’s advisers, in searching for a new and different NASA strategy with which the president could be favorably identified, ignored NASA’s operational mandate and strayed widely from President Kennedy’s vision and the will of the American people.

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