Monday, February 20, 2012

50 Years Later The Former Soviet Union Has The Last Laugh

On April 12, 1961, the Soviet Union put Yuri Gagarin, the first human, into space.  On February 20, 1962, at the height of the Cold War, John Glenn’s historic flight renewed American pride.  That was 50 years ago.

On February 1, 2010 The New York Times reported, “President Obama is calling on NASA to cancel the program that was to return humans to the Moon by 2020, and focus instead on radically new space technologies.”

Two months later, former astronauts Neil Armstrong, James Lovell  and Eugene Cernan urged President Obama to reconsider what they warned would be "devastating" new policies for the future of NASA.  Here are excerpts from their letter to the President:

“The United States entered into the challenge of space exploration under President Eisenhower’s first term; however, it was the Soviet Union who excelled in those early years.  Under the bold vision of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon, and with the overwhelming approval of the American people, we rapidly closed the gap in the final third; of the 20th century, and became the world leader in space exploration.”

“World leadership in space was not achieved easily.  In the first half-century of the space age, our country made a significant financial investment, thousands of Americans dedicated themselves to the effort, and some gave their lives to achieve the dream of a nation.”


“America’s only path to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station will now be subject to an agreement with Russia to purchase space on their Soyuz  (at a price of over 50 million dollars per seat with significant increases expected in the near future) until we have the capacity to provide transportation for ourselves.”


“It appears that we will have wasted our current $10-plus billion investment in Constellation and, equally importantly, we will have lost the many years required to recreate the equivalent of what we will have discarded.”


“...the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity.  America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space.”

1 comment:

  1. Depressing, but there you have it. We will return to space, but not with this generation of idiots.


Please scribble on my walls otherwise how will I know what you think, but please don’t try spamming me or you’ll earn a quick trip to the spam filter where you will remain—cold, frightened and all alone.