Report from Washington, D.C.

Moon-Walkers Voice Opposition to NASA Budget

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Moon-Walkers Voice Opposition to NASA Budget The first and last Americans to walk on the Moon voiced their opposition to the president’s proposed plan for NASA’s exploration program at a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing May 12 on The Future of U.S. Human Space Flight.

Witnesses included:

  • Dr. John P. Holdren, director, Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden (Ret.), administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Neil Armstrong, commander, Apollo 11, astronaut
  • Capt. Eugene Cernan, USN (Ret.), commander, Apollo 17, astronaut
  • Norman Augustine, chairman, Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee

Sen. Jay Rockefeller IV (D-WV) acknowledged that jobs were an important priority for the country, but the White House’s proposed FY 2011 NASA budget could not be solely judged in terms of the job creation. Rockefeller urged his colleagues to find a balance between economic development and modernizing the Nation’s space program; a goal Dr. Holdren said the President’s proposed budget would enable.

Armstrong said he believed the plan “lacked the transparency necessary to avoid overlooked requirements, which create unwelcomed consequences.”

Cernan said the plan lacked challenges, focus, and represented a blueprint for a “mission to nowhere.” Augustine, who led last year’s presidential review of U.S. human spaceflight, reminded Congress that if it chose to continue the status quo without providing the proper funding it would “place the nation in the same precarious position five to ten years from now.” Rockefeller closed the hearing with a reminder that NASA has a broad portfolio of priorities that it cannot lose focus on in the debate over human space flight.


This article is part of Space Watch: June 2010 (Volume: 9, Issue: 6).