It is widely known that I support the President's new space agenda for
civil space. I was proud to stand beside the President at the recent
Space Summit, and to endorse his bold vision for space -- a vision
that I believe will enable us to maintain our pioneering leadership in
this vitally important enterprise.
The President's approach supports many of the principles that I have
long advocated, including -- the opening of space to the private
sector, the development of a strong technical foundation in science
and technology that will enable our continued leadership in space,
while also encouraging truly international collaboration with our
space faring partners who would embrace this future, the
implementation of a Flexible Path that will afford us opportunities
for exciting missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), enabling journeys
to: libration points and orbits whose characteristics afford
exceptional opportunities for new space science platforms to unlock
the secrets of the universe; human missions to asteroids; and, on to
Mars and its two moons; or, to other destinations that hold potential
scientific or economic promise, such as the potential international
commercial development of the moon -- should this become a priority.
It is a rich vision that I would hope that we could all embrace.
A number of my former colleagues, and other critics, have expressed
concerns about the plan, and in particular, they express grave
reservations about 'the Gap' -- the end of the Space Shuttle Program,
and the inability for the US to provide human access to space -- save
for limited flight opportunities and capabilities with our Russian
partners, pending the maturing of the commercial space transportation
capabilities, or other future systems to meet these needs.