Lampson & Weldon: Full Speed Ahead on Constellation

Model of NASA's Orion spacecraft
Model of NASA's Orion spacecraft

Former Congressmen Nick Lampson and Dave Weldon have authored an op-ed piece in The Washington Times urging the American government to move full steam ahead on NASA’s plan to return humans to the moon by 2020:

Some pundits now question whether NASA has lost its way. Recent chatter regarding major changes in NASA’s current course of direction causes us serious concern. As former elected officials and proponents of space-related legislation, we have a deep understanding of the industry and the negative impacts from starting and stopping high-tech space programs.

First, a skilled work force is displaced. Money is wasted. Overall program success decreases. Furthermore, starts and stops harm the NASA-industry partnerships necessary to assure America’s leadership not only in exploring space, but also keeping a close eye on our home planet – Earth.

The former representatives say that the nation must move forward on the Constellation program, which provides the overall architecture for human spaceflight. NASA has already spent billions on the program, which includes the Ares boosters, Orion spacecraft and Altair lunar lander.

As former elected officials of different parties and persuasions, we understand the challenges facing our nation’s space program. What the space program now needs is support for its goals, not a start-and-stop approach that will negatively impact our nation’s strategic capabilities for years to come.

Read the full op-ed piece.