NSS Wants to Hear from You
I received the following message from George Whitesides yesterday:
Society requests input from members for NSS testimony before Congress
Next Wednesday, May 7, NSS Executive Director George Whitesides [hyperlink mine]will testify before the United States Senate on NASA and the nation's space policies. We would like to solicit your input as a member of the National Space Society for this important testimony. The testimony will be used by Congress as it considers reauthorization of NASA, which is the periodic direction from Congress to NASA on the priorities and programs of the agency. The hearing will be presided over by Florida's senior Senator, Bill Nelson. We would appreciate your comments on the future of the U.S. space program, its importance to the country, and the potential gap in human spaceflight capability, following the retirement of the Space Shuttle. Due to the immediate timeline, we would request that you submit your comments no later than Monday, May 5 [emphasis mine]. You can email your comments directly to George Whitesides at: email@example.com
Please include the following subject line with your email: "NSS Senate Testimony". All submissions will be read carefully and used as foundational materials for the NSS testimony. We will try to post the comments we receive on the NSS website. Please note in your response if you would prefer to keep your submission private. Thank you
for your visionary support of space, and thank you for your membership in NSS.
This is a good opportunity, if you're an NSS member, to get your thoughts out there. Admittedly, I've got a self-interested motive, because I support Constellation in my day job, but more importantly I just believe it's a good thing for the country.
Here's what I sent to George:
- Value of Space Exploration: I sing this song 20 different ways every day. For my own part, I just believe in reaching for greatness, achievement. That must come from effort, from hard work; it means we must have confidence in ourselves, our fellow citizens, and our collective ability to use human intelligence to solve human and technological problems. Space exploration is simply the ultimate expression of that reaching for greatness.
- Strategic Considerations: It has become clear, through the actions of Russia, China, India, and other nations, that space was not simply a one-time "space race" of the Cold War. These nations are pushing the envelope of their individual and collective abilities in space. They see space exploration--not just satellites--as a strategic, critical capability. We would be foolish not to do likewise.
- Implications of, and Solutions to, the Gap: The National Space Society recently sent letters to the ranking members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, asking them to increase funding for crew launches to the International Space Station under "Option D" of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program. The COTS program both encourages this nation's domestic spaceflight capability and reduces our dependency on other nations. If we don't reduce the gap, we run the risk of being held over a barrel if we want to send up our astronauts, or worse, being prevented from sending them at all.
- NASA's Needs for Continuing the VSE: NASA needs a simple but long-term commitment from the nation's elected officials in the form of re-authorization. In reality, it also needs 1 percent of the federal budget. With that 1 percent, we can fund Constellation, and keep our science, aeronautics, and Earth science programs robust.
Let's keep 'em flying. Heck, let's GET 'em flying! Remember: Ares I-X launches in 2009!