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AIA: Human Spaceflight Needs More Money

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 18, 2009
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The summary issued yesterday by The Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, chaired by Norm Augustine, points to a crossroads in human space exploration programs, AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said.

“We agree with the Committee’s conclusion that the U.S. faces a critical need for greater investment in the future of human space exploration,” said Blakey. “American leadership in this crucial international arena is perishable without a national commitment and a program matched with the resources needed for its execution.”

The summary indicates that the current path of the U.S. human spaceflight program is unsustainable, with the resources allocated falling well short of requirements.

Blakey continued, “We need a commitment to invest in space on an ongoing basis. The kinds of technologies developed by the human spaceflight program drive economic growth, adding high-skill, well-paying jobs to our economy. They also inspire the next generation of workers to pursue careers in science, mathematics and engineering – fields which have been crucial to America’s success but which are struggling to enroll sufficient students to meet our needs in the 21st Century.”

The benefits of a strong and robust human spaceflight program have a broad impact on the entire economy, Blakey added. Bio-medical research in the micro-gravity environment of the International Space Station is just one example of the benefits a vibrant space program can bring to the nation.

“American participation in the ISS brings the opportunity to invest further in commercial launch capabilities – assets that can help the U.S. support the ISS as the shuttle program is retired.”

“While international collaboration is a worthy goal in itself, our partners and allies look to us to provide leadership both in terms of direction and funding.  We cannot ignore the benefits of a fully invested U.S. human spaceflight program to our economy, our technological and knowledge growth and our position in the global community.”

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