Space Leadership – 1AC observation I: Inherency
Lou Friedman, former Executive Director, The Planetary Society, March 7, 2011
despite president obama’s early promises, american space exploration efforts drastically declined
[The Space Review, http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1795/1]
Eleven months ago fans of space exploration cheered as President Obama, for the first time since John Kennedy, went on the road to support a program for a new venture of human exploration: “We’ll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history. By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow.” Then Congress went to work and, today, we have no coherent human space exploration goals, objectives, or program. We instead have a weak jobs program, spending money on a cancelled project and ordering a new rocket-to-nowhere project. In that same speech the president said, “We will ramp up robotic exploration of the solar system” and “We will increase Earth-based observation to improve our understanding of our climate and our world.” In his very next budget submission last month, with still no budget passed by Congress for the current fiscal year, he proposed elimination of robotic precursor missions, a decrease in planetary science funding, and delays of vitally needed Earth science missions (a need which just increased as a result of the loss of Glory). All of the proposed increases that were submitted to Congress last year (and which they failed to act upon) are eliminated. In addition, the budget submission ignored the James Webb Space Telescope and the future Mars program—kicking the can of their consideration down the road. NASA is now not just paralyzed, but its vital signs are weakening.
David Freedman, science and tech journalist for 30 years, December 2010
the private sector is not ready to take over for government space programs
[Scientific American December 2010, Vol 303, Issue 6]
What, then, could the Obama administration have been thinking when it announced this past February that NASA should essentially get out of the manned-spaceship business and turn it over to private industry? Under the plan, NASA will write off most of the $9 billion invested so far in Constellation, the program to develop a replacement vehicle for the space
shuttle capable of ferrying astronauts and supplies to the space
station and, eventually, to the moon. Instead the agency will provide seed money to start-ups such as SpaceX, then agree to buy tickets to the space
station on their rockets. It is a naive and reckless plan, a chorus of voices charged. Among the loudest was that of former astronaut and space
icon Neil Armstrong, who was quick to scoff at the notion that the private sector is ready to take over from NASA. "It will require many years and substantial investment to reach the necessary level of safety and reliability," he stated. Leaving orbital ferrying in the hands of private companies, Armstrong and others insisted, would at best be setting the clock back on manned space
exploration. And were private enterprise to drop the ball, perhaps even catastrophically, as many believe it would, the entire grand enterprise of sending people into space
might come to a long-term or even permanent halt. Once NASA's massive manned-spaceflight machine is dismantled, rebuilding it might take far more time and money than anyone would want to spend. Yet despite these concerns, Congress reluctantly agreed to the plan this fall.