Nyack, NY, February 5, 2007 – Today the White House rolled out the 2008 budget request of $17.3 Billion, which represents a huge 6.8% budget increase for NASA over the amount passed just last week by the House of Representatives. The Space Frontier Foundation reiterated its recommendation that NASA drop the unnecessary and extremely expensive plans to send the CEV to the ISS. Instead the Foundation urges the American government to focus even more on lower cost alternatives for ISS payload and passenger services being offered by U.S. commercial firms.
“We have the White House going one way, Congress going the other and nobody’s going to the Moon” says Bob Werb, Space Frontier Foundation’s Chairman of the Board. Werb continued, “We urge the new Congress to take a tough look at NASA’s unaffordable and unsustainable boondoggle rocket plans, and to take a different path.”
In light of recent budget cuts by the House of Representatives of $577M to NASA’s FY2007 Moon-Mars program, and a growing bi-partisan consensus that we need to balance the federal budget, the Space Frontier Foundation believes that Dr. Griffin’s plans are ignoring current budgetary realities, as well as NASA’s historical performance on human spaceflight systems.
“We applaud the House Democratic leadership for being responsible stewards of taxpayer funds by applying the FY 2007 NASA budget cuts to the unaffordable aspects of Dr. Griffin’s Moon-Mars plans. The Democratic Party appears to understand that the taxpayers of this nation just aren’t interested in supporting what they see as business as usual at NASA. We are hoping that the Republicans join them soon,” said Werb. “This should be a wake-up call for Dr. Griffin that his plans, to pour billions of dollars into massive new launch systems that nobody else wants or needs, are going nowhere. It is time for the agency to re-think how it puts people and payloads into space. It is time for the agency to trust the power of free enterprise.”
The Foundation has long held that government designed and operated systems are wasteful, self-defeating dead-ends that will keep the cost of going into space so high that no long-term human exploration or settlement program will be possible. The Foundation believes that the CEV and its launcher are essentially repeats of the shuttle and space station programs, which have consumed hundreds of billions of dollars yet completely failed to meet their promised goals.
“NASA needs to stop competing with the private sector. Sending the CEV to the ISS is not only bad policy, undercutting private sector efforts to raise financing for the same purpose, but the rush to do so requires huge increases in federal funding for the CEV that is just not politically viable” said Rick Tumlinson of the Foundation. “We urge NASA to stick to its real job of exploring the far frontier, of supporting science and discovery, and hand over ISS transportation to American entrepreneurs.”
Tumlinson concluded “It is important for NASA to understand this is not a fight they are going to win, even if they restore some of the funding this year. The trend in Congress is going the other way towards balanced budgets, and a better return on investment to the American people. If America really wants to open space to the people, then we cannot dump hundreds of billions into government-based technologies. It simply will not work. We must try something new.”
The Foundation’s White Paper, Unaffordable and Unsustainable? Signs of Failure in NASA’s Earth-to-Orbit Space Transportation Strategy can be downloaded here.