I carefully read your comments every week and think it’s time to share with you an article prepared for Launchspace readers on the subject of U.S. manned space programs.
Since I live abroad you may think it not appropriate for me to comment on these programs. Nevertheless, NASA is much more than an American tradition and patrimonial treasure; it is the world’s hope for better space exploration and understanding.
As a consequence of the international financial crisis many countries around the world have decided to drastically reduce their budgets, cutting spending in a myriad of programs from small private activities to large public projects.
In the United States, to the astonishment of the world, NASA’s budget has been “redirected” to simple LEO applications and some inexpensive research programs. Can this be true?
This is the agency that has contributed most to America’s prestige with its innovative and extraordinary achievements in space, from the time of early explorations of the universe to today’s highly advanced technological achievements. Is prestige important?
Not only is prestige important, it is part of the American tradition, part of American life and by extension, America’s preeminence lights the free world and provides hope and support that other nations, too, can shine and succeed.
The budget is important for any administration. Traditionally, most countries around the world wait for a signal from America – the scientific and technological leader – and rely upon America to protect their freedoms. Until now, countries pursuing space programs have not competed against America or against each other, but they will now have to continue alone or somehow partner with other countries.
Without NASA’s leadership, who will guide the world in peaceful space applications? Without NASA there is a void of experienced leaders well grounded in science. Indeed, we are approaching a new era in which space will be exploited by private, political, economic and military interests – not only in LEO, but also in deep space exploration.
Will countries continue along the moral high ground of benefiting all mankind with the fruits of exploration and innovation or will space become a battleground for national greed and gain?
America should not decide NASA’s future merely on the basis of budgetary expedience. Space exploration is a matter that affects the rights and freedoms of people around the world.
The rights and the dreams of many countries are closely tied to NASA, ESA and other recognized space agencies. The rich history of NASA brought the world Voyager 1, Apollo, robots on Mars, Kepler, Cassini-Huygens, Curiosity and so many more.
Citizens of foreign countries around the globe hope and pray for a changed view of NASA among America’s political leaders. NASA’s successes and legacy are not only America’s heritage, but that of all free countries. We long to discover new scientific horizons in space that will improve our lives and allow our countries to succeed and to live in a peaceful future.