Apr 14 2010


U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee (CJS), which has jurisdiction over funding for NASA, today made the following statement regarding President Obama’s alternative plan for the future of NASA that does not change the budget’s cancellation of NASA’s human space flight program.

“The President's new plan unmistakably shows that NASA's management team does not understand the issues at stake.  While the Administration may have finally realized that its initial budget request was a complete disaster, the new plan, from the same team, still ends human space flight.  This new plan does not represent an advancement in policy or an improvement upon the Constellation program, but a continued abdication of America's leadership in space.  NASA's objective is to let so-called private industry develop with taxpayer money a launch vehicle for humans, yet NASA's current commercial providers today cannot lift an ounce of cargo to the space station.  The plan does nothing to reduce our reliance on the Russians well into the next decade. There is no rocket or capsule being built through this plan that can safely carry humans to space.   The President commits to building a heavy lift vehicle five years from now, at which point he may very well no longer be in office.  It extends the International Space Station's life by five years, yet we will have no way to reach it on our own.  The President has replaced one visionless plan with another.  It is clear that the Administration does not believe that American leadership in human space flight is a priority worth fighting for.”