That race is not over. In fact, it has only just begun in earnest. India, China, and Russia are now poised to launch manned missions to the moon and the other planets. Russia has already placed a crew in simulated isolation for a trip to Mars.
Where is the United States? President Obama has reigned over the demise of NASA. On February 24, 2011 the Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off the pad for the last time closing American’s manned space program. No longer will America be able to place man in space. No longer will America have access to the International Space Station tax payers paid so dearly to construct.
Oh yes, we can get there. But we must beg missions from former enemies like Russia when it is convenient for them and pay their calculated freight. In which case, we should rename NASA to the Blanche Dubois Desires A Ride Program because we are now relegated to “…depending upon the kindness of strangers” to get our astronauts into orbit.
This is a sad day for America and an embarrassing one. Isn’t it interesting that the media made so little over this debacle. As if another retreat in American prestige is no longer a matter of headlines. I knew Jack Kennedy and Obama is no Jack Kennedy!!!
This whole event raises a host of questions. Note that in his State of the Union Address Obama announced the transfer of manned space exploration to “private enterprise.” It makes one wonder if this whole event has anything to do with making money. Once President Obama cancelled the agency's Constellation Program and ended a five-year, $9 billion effort to build new Orion spacecraft and Ares rockets he took America out of space! But that left the door opened for others, didn’t it.
With his action, can one assume the stock of the companies presently doing experiments in private manned launch systems increased substantially in value. They lost their greatest competitor, NASA, did they not? So the investors stand to make great profits, do they not? Did anyone know about this in advance? George Soros, perhaps? In which case it would be prudent for the United States Congress to investigate just who is invested in these “private enterprises” and the timing of their investments. Simply put, who stands to profit from this action? Certainly, the American people and the national security of the United States are losers.
This had been a sad week for all of us who believe in the importance of space exploration and who also are keenly aware of the implications of having such assets as an American financed space station beyond our ability to use, to monitor, and in the hands of people we are not certain we can trust. Could it be militarized by them in an “emergency”? How would be know? How could we stop it?
Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson must be spinning in their graves. To think that the great dreams they proposed and goals they accomplished at the cost of many lives and considerable riches have been simply tossed aside by a President who lacks any imagination for great achievements.
America today is in decline. Not because we lack the resources or human energy to be great, but because we lack the vision and leadership needed to aspire to great things.
by Ron Chapman
(Bayoubuzz Note: Bayoubuzz congratulates Bec Chapman, the daughter of Ron and Margaret Chapman rwho has recently received a nomination for "Best Actress" from Gambit Magazines "Big Easy Awards".)
Recent columns by Ron Chapman