This post has nothing to do with United States space policy or budget dollars, it has to do with ABC News totally distorting the facts when it comes to the Bush administration’s space policy after the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003.
When referencing Gov. Rick Perry’s (Texas) statement about the Obama administration “leaving American astronauts with no alternative but to hitchhike into space” ABC’s The Note wrote it was the Bush administration’s decisions to end the Space Shuttle program by 2010.
Perry, who appears to be laying the groundwork to enter the 2012 presidential race, did not mention President George W. Bush’s role in the end of the space shuttle era. In 2004 at a speech at NASA headquarters, Bush laid out what the White House called his “New Vision For Space Exploration,” which called for the retirement of the space shuttle.
Back then, Bush called for the space shuttle to be taken out of service in 2010.
What a way to tell only 20 percent of the story! It’s a lie by omission. In reality, the Bush administration – after an extensive review of the Space Shuttle program after the Columbia disaster – announced a new vision in Jan. 2004. The Vision for Space Exploration (PDF) NASA document includes the following specific goals and objectives.
The fundamental goal of this vision is to advance U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests through a robust space exploration program. In support of this goal, the United States will:
- Implement a sustained and affordable human and robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond;
- Extend human presence across the solar system, starting with a human return to the Moon by the year 2020, in preparation for human exploration of Mars and other destinations;
- Develop the innovative technologies, knowledge, and infrastructures both to explore and to support decisions about the destinations for human exploration; and
- Promote international and commercial participation in exploration to further U.S. scientific, security, and economic interests
As for the Space Shuttle…
- Focus use of the Space Shuttle to complete assembly of the International Space Station; and
- Retire the Space Shuttle as soon as assembly of the International Space Station is completed, planned for the end of this decade;
As for the International Space Station (ISS)…
- Complete assembly of the International Space Station, including the U.S. components that support U.S. space exploration goals and those provided by foreign partners, planned for the end of this decade;
- Focus U.S. research and use of the International Space Station on supporting space exploration goals, with emphasis on understanding how the space environment affects astronaut health and capabilities and developing countermeasures; and
- Conduct International Space Station activities in a manner consistent with U.S. obligations contained in the agreements between the United States and other partners in the International Space Station.
The plan did require we “acquire” crew transportation services to the ISS. But it also gave birth to the Constellation program that would develop rockets, a crew module and lunar explorer vehicle. We would be on the moon between 2015 and 2020.
President Obama officially killed the Constellation program in October 2010 after claiming it was over budget and behind schedule. That certainly may be the case, but ABC should immediately revise their story to include the facts. By telling barely a half-truth, it breeds ignorant comments from readers…
– Well of course he didn’t mention GWB. Facts are so pesky.
– Perry completely ignores that President Bush started the demise of the means for us to take men into space on the advice and careful research by his space advisors. But the truth is an is sometime Perry is used to ignoring.
– so It was not Obama, but GWB who put an end to the shuttle. Let’s face it, little facts just do not matter.