Astronauts, Space Leaders Back Obama Space Policy

Astronauts, Business Owners, and Space Leaders Agree: Obama Vision for Space Exploration Ensures a Brighter Future
Barack Obama Press Release

Sunday night’s successful SpaceX launch marks another extraordinary new milestone in space. It also provides an opportunity to assess the significant advances we’ve seen in just four years on Florida’s Space Coast.

When President Obama came into office, he inherited a human spaceflight program in crisis. The previous Administration’s decision to retire the Space Shuttle by 2010 was exacerbated by the lack of a viable follow-on program. In 2009, an independent commission concluded that the program to replace the Shuttle suffered such significant underinvestment and was so behind schedule that the first crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS) would not occur until more than a year after the ISS was planned to be deorbited into the ocean.


Romney: NASA Needs Clear Goals, Which I’ll Figure Out After the Election

Romney-Ryan White Paper
September 22, 2012


America’s space program is a strategic national asset crucial to both our security and our economy. The space capabilities of the United States and its allies create strategic military and intelligence advantages that must be maintained. U.S. satellite networks facilitate communications, navigation, remote sensing, and environmental monitoring that support the global economic infrastructure and protect the safety and security of people around the world. It is almost impossible from the modern vantage point to even imagine growing the world’s food, moving its people and cargo, operating its markets, or keeping its peace without operating effectively far above its surface.


Romney Lays Out Space Priorities

Mitt Romney. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

BOSTON (Mitt Romney PR) — Today, Mitt Romney released his plan for Securing U.S. Leadership In Space. As Paul Ryan travels to Orlando, Florida, today, he will outline the space priorities for a Romney-Ryan administration.

America’s space program is an integral element of national prestige and power that protects our citizens and allies while inspiring future generations.  It is an engine of technological innovation and economic vitality.  Rebuilding NASA, restoring U.S. leadership, and creating new opportunities for space commerce will be hard work, but Mitt Romney will strive to rebuild an institution worthy of our aspirations and capable once again of leading the world toward new frontiers.


NASA Faces Deep Budget Cuts Under Sequestration, Romney

Mitt Romney. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

NASA’s budget is facing deep cuts in January from two sources: sequestration and Mitt Romney.

If President Obama and Congress cannot work out a deal, sequestration will cut NASA’s budget by 8 percent or $1.458 billion in early January, according to a new report issued by the White House.

Meanwhile, Romney has promised if elected to send a bill to Congress on his first day in office, Jan. 20, that would slash non-security discretionary spending across the board. If the measure approved, it would result in a reduction of nearly $900 million from the space agency’s budget.


Democratic Platform Includes One Sentence on Space

The Democratic National Platform contains a single mention about civil space policy:

President Obama has charted a new mission for NASA to lead us to a future that builds on America’s legacy of innovation and exploration.

It’s a bit disappointing that the Democrats didn’t choose to spotlight NASA’s new direction and its accomplishments. This was an opportunity to rebut Mitt Romney’s charges that the space agency is floundering because it lacks clear goals and direction.

On the other hand, the National Platform is a policy document. Obama’s space policy is out there, is well known, and is unlikely to change much if he’s re-elected. There is after several years of rancorous political debate, bi-partisan agreement on moving forward on both commercial space for low-Earth orbit and more traditional programs such as the Space Launch System and Orion for deep space.


Romney: NASA Doesn’t Need More Money, Just a Better Focus posed 14 questions to President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.  The twelfth question related to space policy. The answers are after the break. You can read all the questions and answers here.

12. Space. The United States is currently in a major discussion over our national goals in space. What should America’s space exploration and utilization goals be in the 21st century and what steps should the government take to help achieve them?

Mitt Romney. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)


Mitt Invokes Neil Armstrong in Acceptance Speech, Ignores Space Policy

Mitt Romney. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

Last night was a rather eventful one in Tampa, Florida. Clint Eastwood spent about 11 minutes berating an empty chair, startling everyone watching in the arena and on TV. There were two questions on everyone’s minds: what had that poor chair had done to deserve that,and why had Eastwood spent 82 years hiding his brilliant improvisational skills. (Clint, hit the comedy clubs! Or do a Rat Pack style show with Mickey Rooney, Jerry Seinfeld and Betty White. That would be such an awesome train wreck!)

Clint is always hard act to follow, no more so than on Thursday night. But, Mitt Romney gave it the old boarding school try. In his acceptance speech last night, the Republican Presidential nominee paid tribute to Neil Armstrong and America’s can-do spirit:

I was born in the middle of the century in the middle of the country, a classic baby boomer. It was a time when Americans were returning from war and eager to work. To be an American was to assume that all things were possible. When President Kennedy challenged Americans to go to the moon, the question wasn’t whether we’d get there, it was only when we’d get there.


Space Frontier Foundation: Republicans the Party of Big Government Space

NYACK, N.Y. (SFF PR) — Today, the Republican Party released its 2012 platform, which included a provision entitled “America’s Future in Space: Continuing This Quest.” The non-partisan Space Frontier Foundation issued the following statement in response:

NASA seems to be one Big Government program many Republicans love. The GOP platform criticizes the federal government as “bloated, antiquated and unresponsive to taxpayers” but has nothing but hackneyed praise for NASA, and doesn’t even mention the increasing role of the private sector.  The authors of this platform must imagine they still live in the Cold War of the 1960s, when only governments launched payloads and people into space.


Republican Party Space Policy Focuses on NASA

Mitt Romney. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

The Republican Platform — a document that lays out what the party stands for in the upcoming Presidential election — includes a brief passage on the nation’s space program. The section is largely focused on NASA and the need to maintain American leadership in this area for the purposes of competitiveness, technological progress, and national security. There is no mention of commercial space nor any specific proposals on programs and initiatives. Nor does it contain any criticism of the Obama Administration.

This vagueness is largely in line with Mitt Romney’s approach to space, which has been to attack the Obama Administration as disastrous while offering no specifics on what he would change.

Read the space section below.


Ryan Promises “Robust” Space Program, Provides No Details

Rep. Paul Ryan

In an interview with WPTV in Florida, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was asked about defense and the space program. His answer was more focused on the former (spend more!) than the latter (“robust”), providing few clues about what he and presidential candidate Mitt Romney would do with NASA if elected. Ryan refused to answer a question about NASA’s commercial space efforts.

Excerpts below.

Countering critics who perceived him and Romney as weak on national security and foreign policy, Ryan said Romney would propose to strengthen defense spending if elected.

Ryan, who voted against the 2008 and 2010 NASA Authorization Acts, said he believed in a “robust space program.”


Romney Taunts Chinese on Space, Basks in Obama Administration’s Accomplishments

Mitt Romney. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Mitt Romney was campaigning earlier this week in Florida, where he made some rather cryptic remarks about America’s space program that might be attributed to an overly tight necktie had he been wearing one:

“I’ve got a promise for you guys. There are better days ahead when we get a better leader in Washington. This is still the greatest nation on Earth. I know there are people around the world who are always critical of America, have something negative to say, say our greatest days are in the past. Baloney. We just won more Olympic medals than any other nation on Earth. You also just saw we just landed on Mars and took a good look at what’s going on there. And I know the Chinese are planning on going to the Moon and I hope they have a good experience doing that and I hope they stop in and take a look at our flag that was put there 43 years ago.”

Now, let’s go through this step by step.


Romney Baffles America on Space Policy, Almost Everything Else

If you have been paying any attention to the on-going Presidential race, you’ve probably noticed that Republican candidate Mitt Romney has been a bit vague on what he would actually do if elected President. You’re not alone. So has Jon Stewart (video above) and the folks at Obama for America – Florida (statement below). They differ on whether this is a potentially brilliant strategy or a flaw the candidate.

Generic Republican Presidential Candidate, 2012. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

As NASA announced three new agreements yesterday as part of their Commercial Crew Integrated Capability program, an initiative designed to develop the next generation of space vehicles that will carry American Astronauts into orbit, Mitt Romney continues refusing to tell Floridians the truth about his vision for the space program. Obama for America-Florida Press Secretary Eric Jotkoff released the following statement:

“President Obama has laid out an ambitious new direction for NASA by setting the groundwork for a sustainable program of exploration and innovation that will create jobs on the space coast and usher in a new era of human space flight. Yesterday’s announcement demonstrates the continued progress in President Obama’s commitment to developing innovative technologies that would allow commercial space transportation capability and partnerships with the private sector companies geared toward achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station.

“As Floridians have seen President Obama’s continued commitment on moving our nation’s space program forward, Mitt Romney refuses to answer even the most basic questions surrounding space policy. He won’t say if he supports President Obama’s efforts to support and grow America’s commercial space industry, and as each day passes, it becomes increasingly clear that Mitt Romney has no clear vision for NASA.”

Cleveland Has More to Worry About From Romney than Obama

Former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney unveiled his space advisory group at the end of January, one might reasonably have expected that the group would have gone to work producing some sort of plan for the candidate to run on in relatively short order.

Five months later, there is no sign of such a document. However, two members of that body — former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and his former deputy, Scott Pace — showed up in Cleveland this week to scare people with allegations that the  Obama Administration plans to cut back staff at the NASA Glenn Research Center.

They failed to mention, however, that Romney’s budget proposals would cut NASA’s spending plan even more.


Video: Eric Anderson Urges National Conversation on Space

Eric Anderson wants a national conversation about the future of space exploration. It’s an interesting plea because Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich started exactly that a few weeks ago by announcing plans for a moon base by 2021. Mitt Romney, the candidate whom Anderson is advising, mocked the idea while proposing no alternatives of his own. The end result of that conversation was a SNL sketch called, “Newt Gingrich: Moon President.” That was good for Mitt, although it painted Newt and the broader space community that supports the goal as, if you’ll excuse the phrase, loony.

So, Anderson now wants to start a new national conversation. That might be easier to do if Romney had a strategy. Instead, he has merely described a process by which he would figure out his policy, which involves forming an advisory board that includes Anderson, Mike Griffin, Scott Pace and Eugene Cernan. In other words, Top. Men. That’s not much on which to base a national conversation. Perhaps Anderson will go into more detail in future videos.


CSF Chairman Anderson Backs Romney, Attacks Obama as Ineffective

Mitt Romney. (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

Jeff Foust over at Space Politics has interviewed Eric Anderson, the Space Adventures CEO and Commercial Spaceflight Federation chairman who is serving on Mitt Romney’s space advisory board. Anderson and seven other members of the group signed an open letter last week supporting Romney and harshly criticizing the Obama Administration’s space policy.

Anderson says he’s had several one-on-one conversations with the candidate, who has expressed his enthusiasm for private sector human spaceflight development. He also defended Romney’s lack of specific solutions while pointing to the candidate’s business background as evidence of his support of commercial space solutions.

“You must remember, Mitt Romney is a very experienced businessman. People in business of course believe in private industry! They know that if you can find goods and services in the private sector then clearly those would be preferable to the government recreating that capability,” he told Foust.