Sunday, March 16, 2014

Letter to the Editor

Florida Today this morning published my letter to the editor about how Congress' cutting of the commercial crew budget over the last several years increase U.S. reliance on the Russian Soyuz.

It's not quite exactly what I submitted, but most letters get edited for space and content and this one represents what I think.

Below is the content as published.

When President Obama campaigned in Titusville in August 2008, he said he would reduce the gap created by the Bush administration that forced NASA to rely on the Russian Soyuz for International Space Station access until at least 2017.

Obama tried to keep his promise, funding a proposed George W. Bush-era program called commercial crew and setting a target date for 2015.

But Congress cut funding for commercial crew by 62 percent from Obama’s requests during the last three federal fiscal years. In the current year, Congress cut Obama’s request by 15 percent. The result is that NASA will rely on Russia until at least 2017.

NASA and the Obama administration repeatedly warned Congress of the consequences. Congress didn’t care.

Now NASA worries what will happen if Russia ends access to the space station due to the Ukraine crisis.

I call for Florida’s representatives on the congressional space authorization committees, Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, to convene emergency hearings that make up for your past mistakes and prime the pump so U.S. crew flights return to Kennedy Space Center by the end of 2015.

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