Space travel has been an exciting new phase in our history. As the most experienced and technologically advanced nation in this field, the United States has been in a unique position to chart the growth of the industry and should continue to do so. It took vision and leadership to get us to the moon, to build the shuttle, and the International Space Station. There is a great and exciting future ahead for our country in outer space. We must maintain this edge and surpass it.
Last week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that she was not “a big fan of manned expeditions to outer space, in terms of safety and cost.” It is either an ignorant comment or, if not, we will need to accept at face value that the Speaker of the House could care less about outer space and its vast potential for our country. Fortunately, not all Democrats think that way. As far as lack of safety, it is a specious comment that the facts just do not support. Same goes for cost. We have spent more on bailing out failed companies or federal health care programs this year than we did on our space programs (as is always the case year after year).
When compared against the accomplisments and deliverables, both safety and cost are substantially outweighed by the benefits. The programs – both government and private sector – have succeeded in spite of federal government funding. Maybe that is a good thing because as soon as you allow the federal government to tinker too much with something, well, things just break down. But looking at human space flight in only dollars and cents is politically myopic.
Florida Representative Suzanne Kosmas (R-Fla.) who represents the Kennedy Space urged Pelosi to change her focus. “Increased funding for NASA will preserve and create high-tech jobs across our nation, help to mitigate the impending space flight gap, and ensure our nation’s continued leadership in space and technology,” Kosmas said in a letter to the Speaker. We can cooperate with allies when it serves our interests, but being the undisputed leader in human space travel should be our mindset. There is nothing wrong in being a leader, in being number one. If not us, it will be China or another power – and this is surely not in the U.S. national interest by any stretch. Ask the folks over at the nearby Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) in Wallops Island, Virginia. They would agree.
Investing in human space travel is grounded in science and a strong track record of accomplishments. For some reason, the Speaker would rather invest billions of U.S. taxpayer monies in schemes to protect the world from scientifically-disputed “global warming” problems. There is a greater danger from aliens visiting earth than anything discussed at Copenhagen last week. If political leaders such as Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy had thought that way, we would still be tinkering on the ground while other nations beat us to the moon, and beyond.