Students Know Commercial Spaceflight Is Their Future

by Space Frontier Foundation on April 4, 2011

Washington, DC - Late last week, Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) sent an open letter to President Obama and the U.S. Congress.  In their letter, they offered the following observations and recommendations:

  • We all win when NASA partners with America’s commercial spaceflight industry
  • America’s space program should open the space frontier to all
  • We can enable NASA to explore the solar system by utilizing commercial spaceflight providers
  • Commercial companies will help grow tomorrow’s workforce through inspiring STEM outreach and hands-on training

Embedded within these themes are specific requests to fund NASA initiatives that embrace NewSpace opportunities, such as Commercial Crew & Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR).  The letter was signed by over 280 students.

The Space Frontier Foundation applauds SEDS for writing and publishing this letter, and taking their future into their own hands.  SEDS’ initiative follows on grass roots efforts like Keep the Promise and a letter from 50 space experts urging Congress to support Commercial Crew.

“At our Keep the Promise event, over half the participants were students,” said Bob Werb, the Chairman of the Space Frontier Foundation.  “This fact, combined with the recent SEDS letter, tells me that students “get it” when it comes to commercial spaceflight – not only do they understand it, but they are excited by it because it offers them a bright future.”

This optimism stands in direct contrast to many in Congress, who are desperately protecting a few thousand 20th century jobs at the expense of countless new 21st century industries.  Congress may claim that they are fighting for the future, but  not once have they invited a student to testify at one of the dozen or more congressional hearings on human spaceflight over the past two years.

“For far too long, Congress has talked about the link between Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education and spaceflight, but has never actually asked students to participate in the discussion” said Keep the Promise project manager Aaron Oesterle.  “Now, 280 students, all of whom are pursuing degrees in STEM fields, have publicly said commercial spaceflight is vital to America’s future in space.  Congress ignores this message at its peril.”

In the coming weeks and months, the Space Frontier Foundation plans to partner with SEDS and other pro-space students to ensure that Congress listens to them.  In the meantime, we encourage all students and other supporters of NewSpace to continue to contact Congress, and let them know these programs are important.

View the Message:  Letter from Students on the Future of Human Spaceflight

Are you a student and wish to sign?  Visit the SEDS website to find out how!

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