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What I'd Like To See A Presidential Candidate Say About Space

Of either party.

"I fully support the president's Vision for Space Exploration. I believe that we should expand our presence beyond low earth orbit, and establish a human civilization into the solar system, going to the moon, the asteroids, Mars and points beyond, which is what the vision was in its essence. However, I'm extremely disappointed in the implementation of it to date by NASA, and if elected, I pledge to revisit the Aldridge Report, which required that the vision be fully integrated with the commercial sector and that it support national security goals, and restructure it in order to do so."

One could obviously expand on it in detail, but that's what's missing from the debate, in my opinion.


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Sam wrote:

All important points. Equally important is electing a president who doesn't support the law of the sea treaty (LOST)and its potential to be used against space. Unfortunately John Mccain supports this terrible treaty. As the Florida primary approaches this is a very important although little commented space related issue.

Anonymous wrote:

June 25, 2004

Praising Private Space Exploration

Mr. Speaker, I rise to congratulate and commend the designers, builders, sponsors, and pilot of SpaceShipOne on the occasion of its successful flight out of earth’s atmosphere on June 21, 2004. What is most remarkable about SpaceShipOne, of course, is that it is the first privately-financed and privately built vehicle to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.

SpaceShipOne was designed and built by Burt Rutan and piloted by test pilot Michael W. Melvill. It was launched successfully from Mojave California, reaching a height of 100 KM (62 miles ) above the Earth’s surface. Remarkably, SpaceShipOne is entirely privately-financed, chiefly by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen.

According to the designers and financers of SpaceShipOne, the mission of this project is to demonstrate the viability of commercial space flight and to open the door for private space tourism. The successful completion of SpaceShipOne’s maiden voyage demonstrates that relatively modest amounts of private funding can significantly increase the boundaries of commercial space technology. It constitutes a major leap toward their goal and demonstrates that private capital and private enterprise can be applied to enormous success all on its own. Those associated with this project represent the best of our American traditions, embodied in our enterprising and pioneering spirit.

Their success should also be read as a cautionary tale for all of us in government. If only the United States had a taxation policy that limited government and thereby freed up more private capital, there is no telling how many more like Burt Rutan, Paul Allen, and Michael Melvill would be able to do great things to the benefit all of mankind. This not just in space exploration, but in medical research, alternative energy research, and any number of the problems that continue to perplex mankind. Private enterprise depends on results and success and therefore private capital is always targeted much more wisely than is monies confiscated by governments.

With this successful maiden voyage, SpaceShipOne is now the leading contender for the $10 million Ansari X Prize, which is to be awarded to the first privately financed three-seat aircraft that reaches an altitude of 62 miles and repeats the feat within two weeks. I wish all those involved in this remarkable project the best of luck.

Mark R. Whittington wrote:

If I were a reporter listening to this, I would ask the candidate two questions:

(1) Why are you disappointed in NASA's implementation of the Vision for Space Exploration?

(2) How, specifically, would you fix it?

Sam Dinkin wrote:

Nicely said. Also missing from the debate is someone who says, "NASA has been ineffective for years and while I support space exploration in theory, I don't in practice and would reduce NASA's budget by $5 billion/year to pay for my other programs until they shape up." That would be a good counterpoint to your point and might elicit--gasp--a mandate for change in one direction or the other.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on January 26, 2008 7:13 AM.

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