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Sun Aug 26, 2012, 09:47 PM

Neil Armstrong's Letter to Barack Obama.

Neil Armstrong was a private man, but he stepped back into the spotlight in 2010 to oppose the administration's new policies on NASA, which he felt were deeply misguided.

This was an open letter to the President. Unfortunately, the President has so far decided to ignore Armstong's sound advice, for whatever reason. Remaining a leader in space might not be an important objective to this President, but I wish that he would keep a more open mind toward those with expertise, who have dedicated their lives to the field. It is disheartening to witness decades of commitment and hard work fall to waste over something as foolish and inane as deficit fetishism.

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.

America’s space accomplishments earned the respect and admiration of the world. Science probes were unlocking the secrets of the cosmos; space technology was providing instantaneous worldwide communication; orbital sentinels were helping man understand the vagaries of nature. Above all else, the people around the world were inspired by the human exploration of space and the expanding of man’s frontier. It suggested that what had been thought to be impossible was now within reach. Students were inspired to prepare themselves to be a part of this new age. No government program in modern history has been so effective in motivating the young to do “what has never been done before.”

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. In the latter part of the first half century of the space age, Americans and their international partners focused primarily on exploiting the near frontiers of space with the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.

As a result of the tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003, it was concluded that our space policy required a new strategic vision. Extensive studies and analysis led to this new mandate: meet our existing commitments, return to our exploration roots, return to the moon, and prepare to venture further outward to the asteroids and to Mars. The program was named "Constellation." In the ensuing years, this plan was endorsed by two Presidents of different parties and approved by both Democratic and Republican congresses.

The Columbia Accident Board had given NASA a number of recommendations fundamental to the Constellation architecture which were duly incorporated. The Ares rocket family was patterned after the Von Braun Modular concept so essential to the success of the Saturn 1B and the Saturn 5. A number of components in the Ares 1 rocket would become the foundation of the very large heavy lift Ares V, thus reducing the total development costs substantially. After the Ares 1 becomes operational, the only major new components necessary for the Ares V would be the larger propellant tanks to support the heavy lift requirements.

The design and the production of the flight components and infrastructure to implement this vision was well underway. Detailed planning of all the major sectors of the program had begun. Enthusiasm within NASA and throughout the country was very high.

When President Obama recently released his budget for NASA, he proposed a slight increase in total funding, substantial research and technology development, an extension of the International Space Station operation until 2020, long range planning for a new but undefined heavy lift rocket and significant funding for the development of commercial access to low earth orbit.

Although some of these proposals have merit, the accompanying decision to cancel the Constellation program, its Ares 1 and Ares V rockets, and the Orion spacecraft, is devastating.

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. The availability of a commercial transport to orbit as envisioned in the President’s proposal cannot be predicted with any certainty, but is likely to take substantially longer and be more expensive than we would hope.

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.

For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature. While the President's plan envisages humans traveling away from Earth and perhaps toward Mars at some time in the future, the lack of developed rockets and spacecraft will assure that ability will not be available for many years.

Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, 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. If it does, we should institute a program which will give us the very best chance of achieving that goal.

Neil Armstrong
Commander, Apollo 11

James Lovell
Commander, Apollo 13

Eugene Cernan
Commander, Apollo 17

17 replies, 6388 views

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 17 replies Author Time Post
Reply Neil Armstrong's Letter to Barack Obama. (Original post)
girl gone mad Aug 2012 OP
Skittles Aug 2012 #1
kestrel91316 Aug 2012 #2
nanabugg Aug 2012 #3
girl gone mad Aug 2012 #5
xchrom Aug 2012 #6
Gore1FL Aug 2012 #12
MatthewStLouis Aug 2012 #14
progressoid Aug 2012 #17
MrSlayer Aug 2012 #4
girl gone mad Aug 2012 #9
MADem Aug 2012 #10
Gabi Hayes Aug 2012 #7
ProSense Aug 2012 #8
Cha Aug 2012 #13
longship Aug 2012 #11
leftstreet Aug 2012 #15
JaneyVee Aug 2012 #16

Response to girl gone mad (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 09:51 PM

1. escalating war and defunding NASA

fucking STINKS

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Response to girl gone mad (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 09:52 PM

2. Sadly, the US considers tax breaks for the 1% to be FAR more

important than some silly little space program.

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Response to girl gone mad (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 09:55 PM

3. Too many problems on earth to be solved and this came at a time deep, deep economic travail.

 

Priorities are important and I happen to agree with the President's priorities right now. Let the flames begin.

RIP Commander, Armstrong

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Response to nanabugg (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:04 PM

5. It's not a competition.

We don't have to choose between being a leader in space and solving problems at home. We can do both.

In fact, funding the space program creates tens of thousands of good jobs here in America. The money used to pay office workers, engineers, scientists and astronauts stays on Earth and gets spent in our economy. They don't stuff it into the rockets and launch it into space.

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Response to nanabugg (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:09 PM

6. Oh horse shit - there's what? 21 trillion dollars

The wealthy have accumulated - just sitting around.

That's the money of the people of the world .

Governments w/ the cooperation of 'good' citizens like you are simply afraid to go & get it & to wipe our national debts.

Good word standing w/ the thieves.

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Response to nanabugg (Reply #3)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 11:31 PM

12. The solutions to problems we have on earth are discovered in this type of endeavor. n/t



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Response to Gore1FL (Reply #12)

Mon Aug 27, 2012, 12:31 AM

14. So true!

This kind of dreaming always leads to unimaginable advances in science and technology.

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Response to nanabugg (Reply #3)

Mon Aug 27, 2012, 02:47 AM

17. Yes, it's important that we bomb some fucking democracy into Afghanistan.

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Response to girl gone mad (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:00 PM

4. Did he write to Bush in 2004 when he ended the manned missions?

 

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Response to MrSlayer (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:15 PM

9. MrSlayer,

How can I help you if you won't even read your own links?

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Response to MrSlayer (Reply #4)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:15 PM

10. Everything is Obama's fault. Bush is always blameless.



And even if Obama put OBL in the deep blue, or a Rover on Mars, he won't get credit, either.

Bush cancelled the Space Shuttle shortly after one of 'em blew up over his ranch in Waco....I believe the debris rained down on, of all places, Palestine, TX. And there was an Israeli astronaut aboard Columbia, as well...

The right-wing religious portenders saw it as a "sign" of course...

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Response to girl gone mad (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:09 PM

7. yeah, we'll start colonizing the universe just as soon as everybody in the US

gets their Romney-brand combination electric 'roof' rack/dog polisher, cause we're just SWIMMING in extra cash these days, aren't we?

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Response to girl gone mad (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:11 PM

8. Remember

President Obama's program shifted focus to Mars.

Obama Envisions Manned Mars Mission for NASA
http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-205_162-6394612.html

Statement by the President on Curiosity Landing on Mars

Tonight, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history.

The successful landing of Curiosity – the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet – marks an unprecedented feat of technology that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future. It proves that even the longest of odds are no match for our unique blend of ingenuity and determination.

Tonight’s success, delivered by NASA, parallels our major steps forward towards a vision for a new partnership with American companies to send American astronauts into space on American spacecraft. That partnership will save taxpayer dollars while allowing NASA to do what it has always done best – push the very boundaries of human knowledge. And tonight’s success reminds us that our preeminence – not just in space, but here on Earth – depends on continuing to invest wisely in the innovation, technology, and basic research that has always made our economy the envy of the world.

I congratulate and thank all the men and women of NASA who made this remarkable accomplishment a reality – and I eagerly await what Curiosity has yet to discover.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/06/statement-president-curiosity-landing-mars

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Response to ProSense (Reply #8)

Mon Aug 27, 2012, 12:03 AM

13. Thanks for the reminder,

ProSense.

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Response to girl gone mad (Original post)

Sun Aug 26, 2012, 11:09 PM

11. I support this message.

Cut Defense. Regulate investment banks, to whatever extent possible. Break up monopolies. Fund radical restructioning of public, secular education. Fully fund science research and space exploration, both cheap, efficient robotic and humans-in-space. Abandon low-earth orbit to private enterprise, as it becomes available. Provide incentives to assure that it does.

How's that? For a start, at least.

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Response to girl gone mad (Original post)

Mon Aug 27, 2012, 01:19 AM

15. DURec

Thanks for posting this

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Response to girl gone mad (Original post)

Mon Aug 27, 2012, 01:22 AM

16. Btw, we just landed on Mars.

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