by Ed Farnan – The hot mic incident that caught President Obama asking Russian President Medvedev for space has many in the American space industry saying the same thing. They want space back from the Russians and feel President Obama has ceded that frontier to them. The Russians brag, saying they own space and can arbitrarily charge us whatever they want to bring our Astronauts to the Space Station. The Russians are correct, America has no manned space flight program and it seems there is not one on the horizon under the Obama administration.
60 Minutes News Hour did a special report on Florida’s “space coast,” where there have been massive layoffs in the NASA space industry. The name of the piece was “Hard Landing,” it focused on Brevard County, the heart of space exploration that has been devastated by cutbacks to manned space flight. Highly skilled technicians specializing in space flight are no longer employed and wonder what the future holds for them under the Obama administration.
Ironically, in 2008 Brevard County was visited by then candidate Obama who criticized President Bush for cutbacks in the space program. He promised them that if he were elected president he would protect the space industry. In a speech to those space workers he promised:
“We’re going to work with Bill Nelson to add at least one flight after 2010 by continuing to support NASA funding, by speeding the development of the shuttle’s successor, by making sure that all those who work in the space industry in Florida do not lose their jobs when the shuttle is retired because we can’t afford to lose their expertise. But more broadly, we need a real vision for the next stage of space exploration.”
But recalling that flowery speech by candidate Obama, 60 Minutes host Scott Pelly said:
“Take a look around today, and you’ll see the results didn’t match Obama’s rhetoric.”
“Fifty years of liftoffs are becoming eight months of layoffs. Have a look around Brevard County. It’s shrinking. Lots of people are moving away, taking businesses down with them.”
Even if it is a temporary grounding of the manned flight program, it is a few years too many. A wise visionary leader would find the money and rally the people around the idea of pushing the space envelope.
As the shuttle landed for its last time I was on Fox News commenting on the ramifications of letting manned space flight come to an end. I don’t think a competent visionary leader would let our space program be relegated to back seat status. As I have discovered about Governor Romney over the years, he sees a problem and finds a way to solve it. I am sure if he were President, America would be again at the leading edge of space exploration, he knows space is America’s future.
A President Romney would not ask for space from the Russians…He would take it by outworking and outsmarting them.