Monday, August 18, 2008

Barack Pleadges 2 Billion for NASA

The Washington Post reports that Barack Obama has pledged serious cash to support NASA in closing the gap.

In a recent visit in Florida, Barack stated:

"As president, I'll make our space program a priority again by devoting the attention and resources needed to not only inspire the world with feats of exploration but also improve life here on Earth," Obama said."
This is in contradiction to earlier statements that he made on his website about delaying the constellation plan 5 years. The edited document is this one. The final section, regarding funding of his education initiative, conspicuously omits verbiage regarding NASA, whereas before it did.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My Conversation with Pete Olson

Pete Olson came down our street a few minutes ago. He is canvasing to get elected in Nick Lampson's district. I took the opportunity to stand out in the sun with him and talk about space in the Congress.

I told him how important the space program is to me, and how the Congress and the President really set the pace for the America's space program.

He agreed, and said that it was the president mostly who set the pace. He said that McCain want looking to promising on space, but that he looked better than Obama. I told him that I felt that space was primarily important for the inspirational value that it provides to Americans, and that's why I had chosen to work in the space industry myself. I told him that if we put a man on Mars and he didn't do any science there, it would still be worth it.

He shared some experiences with me about what set him on his path to become a Navy aviator, and that it was in part to open up the opportunity to be an astronaut. I'm not sure if he shares this with to many potential constituents.

I asked him that in the case that he was elected, he should promote and fund space exploration initiatives that would promote inspiration for Americans, and not just science.

As we were parting, he asked me if I thought that we could or should keep the shuttle flying past 2010. I was glad that he asked, and thought that he really wanted to know what I thought. I told him that I didn't think that it was a good idea and that I thought it was more important to move the CEV closer than to push the shuttle out. I shared with him an experience I'm having on the Space Station program where we are having to buy more parts than we originally intended and we are having to pay through the nose to get the contractor spun up again to build these parts.

I said that just like Cortez burned his ships when he landed in America, we should burn our ships that would keep us in LEO so that we could reach for the Moon and Mars.

He said that with enough funding the shuttle could be kept going, and I shared my dissatisfaction with the level of funding the George Bush has asked Congress to give to NASA. Bush's funding is less that what he laid out for NASA when he pitched the VSE to the nation.

My personal exposure to Pete Olson was positive, although brief.

Now that Congressional campaign season is up, take this opportunity to find out who is running in your area and talk to them about how and why you think that they should fund space. Talk to them while they are in a listening mode and trying to get your vote.