Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama released today the
education plan he would enact if elected. The full 15-page plan includes a variety of proposals, including reforming early education programs. The last section of the plan, titled “A Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility” explains how he would pay for these initiatives. The passage of relevance here: “The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years,” among other steps. According to MSNBC, Obama would leave in place $500 million/year for Constellation’s “manufacturing and technology base”, but would otherwise transfer the funding to the education effort. None of the campaign’s official statements or other media reports indicate any alternative measures the campaign would take to address what, on its face, would appear to be a five-year delay in the introduction of Ares 1, Orion, and the other main components of NASA’s current exploration
(A potentially ironic item, depending on your opinion on the importance of Constellation: one other section of the Obama education plan is titled “Make Math and Science Education a National Priority”.)
The Republican National Committee has criticized the move to delay Constellation, The Hill reports, quoting RNC spokesman Danny Diaz: “It is ironic that Barack
Obama’s plan to help our children reach for the stars is financed in part by
slashing a program that helps us learn about those very same stars.”
This would spell disaster for the leader in world space exploration. And though there is a push for privatizing space, the industry has been held back so long that we are not able to pick up the pieces and send man to space privately right away. This would still leave the US without the means to send man to space.
This may seem like small potatoes, but when China and India are preparing for moon missions by 2020, we cannot delay our own efforts.
The problem with America is the lack of drive to speak out until it is too late... This is a case where it will be too little too late.
Write your local congressman, call Barack's campaign, call a talk radio show. Get the message out that sacrificing the Human Space Program is not an option.