Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sandy Adams' Parallel Universe

Rep. Sandy Adams voted in February to cut $600 million from the FY11 NASA budget.

Florida Today published on July 7 a guest column by Sandy Adams, a Florida Republican member of Congress whose district includes the Space Coast.

When Adams ran for Congress in 2010, Florida Today on October 15 endorsed her opponent, Suzanne Kosmas. They wrote:

Kosmas' opponent is four-term Republican state Rep. Sandy Adams of Orlando, whose lack of knowledge about NASA is appalling.

During an interview with FLORIDA TODAY’s editorial board the day the House voted on the bill that set NASA’s course for at least a generation, Adams hadn’t even read the measure and did not know any of its specifics.

She also had no idea of the key details in state legislation to spur space initiatives here, or of the many efforts underway to diversify the Brevard economy to create post-shuttle jobs.

After she was elected, Adams published on December 29 a guest column in the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Adams wrote, "We cannot and should not be forced to rely on the Russians and Chinese to get our astronauts into space."

Apparently she thought that U.S. astronauts were being "forced" to fly on Chinese rockets. No one has ever flown on a Chinese rocket other than Chinese. In fact, no Chinese have flown recently on a Chinese rocket either. The last manned Chinese launch was Shenzhou 7 on September 25, 2008. That was a three-day flight of three taikonauts.

As for the decision to rely on Russia, that decision was made by the Bush administration in January 2004. The Bush plan was to retire the Space Shuttle in 2010 once International Space Station construction ended, then rely on Russian Soyuz rockets for U.S. crew transportation until a domestic replacement was available. The Bush administration estimated the "gap" would be at least until 2014.

A month after taking office, Adams voted for H.R. 1, which cut NASA funding by $600 million for Fiscal Year 2011.

On March 17, Florida Today published a letter from Adams in which she claimed that "the Obama Administration's budget willingly ceded that leadership to China, Russia and India — countries that understand the importance of human space exploration. We cannot continue to accept this administration's assault on American exceptionalism and world leadership." This despite the fact that China hasn't flown people in nearly three years, and India never has.

So it should come as no surprise that Adams' latest essay contains similar falsehoods.

Adams writes:

I share the anger of so many of you directed at this administration and NASA for failing to prepare our community for this painstaking transition ... If NASA and President Obama had planned for this transition instead of simply canceling the Constellation program without a viable alternative, perhaps the Space Coast would not be losing tens of thousands of jobs.

The truth is that in April 2010 Obama directed the creation of a Task Force on Space Industry Workforce and Economic Development. Its objective was to create "an interagency action plan to facilitate economic development strategies and plans along the Space Coast and to provide training and other opportunities for affected aerospace workers so they are equipped to contribute to new developments in America's space program and related industries."

The report was issued on August 15, 2010. The U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) issued a request for applications from entities interested in funding to create jobs in the Space Coast.

The proposal awaited $40 million in funding from Congress, but it never came. Florida Today on May 1 concluded that Congress failed to fund the program out of "neglect and fallout from political brinkmanship."

Adams is a member of that Congress that failed to act.

Florida Today wrote of her inactivity:

Republican Rep. Sandy Adams, whose district includes Kennedy Space Center and Titusville, never weighed in publicly on the $40 million, and her office did not respond to a request for comment last week.

Adams voted against the April 8 compromise, not because of NASA, but because Congress didn't cut deep enough, she said in a prepared statement.

In her July 7 column, Adams once again complained about American astronauts flying on Soyuz, but failed to mention it was the Bush administration's decision. She also failed to note the Obama administration's commercial cargo and crew programs. SpaceX is expected to begin cargo deliveries to the International Space Station in 2012, and Orbital not far behind. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said Sunday on CNN that he expects NASA to issue a request for bids in 2012 to begin crew deliveries to the ISS in 2015, perhaps late 2014.

Adams also tried to frighten us once again with claims of a Chinese Red Menace:

... [T]wo state-run news sources in China revealed the first piece of their new space station will be launched by the end of September. China has made space a national priority, yet we ignore this reality at the peril of our national prestige in science and technology and to the detriment of our national security.

I would ask the president to consider what it would mean for our country if Chinese astronauts planted a flag on the moon, while our astronauts can’t even get off the ground in our own rockets.

Apparently Adams is unaware that the United States planted a flag on the Moon 42 years ago — the anniversary is July 20 — or that the U.S. launched its first space station Skylab in 1973, and has jointly operated the ISS since 1998, sending our first astronaut there in October 2000 — aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket.

Florida Today had it right last October when they wrote that Adams' lack of knowledge about NASA is appalling. At times it seems she dwells in a parallel universe where China and India rule the heavens, reality be damned.

The alternative is that she is a lying demagogue.


  1. Did she really write "for failing to prepare our community for this painstaking transition ..."?


    Doesn't she understand the difference between that and "painful"?

    Ye gads.

  2. Fact Nit: Commercial cargo (under COTS and CRS) was an initiative started under former NASA administrator Mike Griffin during the Bush administration. COTS was announced in early 2006 with a first set of Space Act Agreements signed later that year, and CRS contract was awarded to Orbital and SpaceX in late 2008.

  3. leadingspace wrote:

    "Fact Nit: Commercial cargo (under COTS and CRS) was an initiative started under former NASA administrator Mike Griffin during the Bush administration."

    Correct, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise. In fact, STS-135 was approved to buy us an extra year until the CRS flights begin in 2012. Constellation's Ares I was all about crew, and COTS was to handle cargo. Imagine where we'd be now if Constellation had been responsible for cargo too. Yikes. The success of commercial cargo gave us the springboard for commercial crew. And I give full credit to the prior administration for that.