- Advocacy & Policy
- Research Center
July 08, 2011
The Aerospace Industries Association congratulates NASA on a remarkable record of achievement marked by the successful launch of the final space shuttle flight.
Over the past thirty years, the space shuttle has had soaring successes including sending more than 350 astronauts from 20 nations into space, servicing the Hubble Space Telescope, linking up with the Mir Space Station of our former Soviet adversaries and building the International Space Station.
“The space shuttle has been an amazing American success story and a tribute to the men and women of NASA and the aerospace industry,” said AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey. “We need to honor the shuttle’s legacy by continuing to invest in our future.”
Discontinuing shuttle launches in this difficult economy means the end of jobs for many of those in the workforce and potentially the loss of a vital national capability. To mitigate the risk to our nation’s space workforce and industrial base, NASA needs steady funding as it works to develop new systems to assure independent U.S. crew access to the ISS and beyond.
According to a recent opinion poll by the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of Americans agreed it was “essential” that the United States lead the world in space exploration. Large majorities said that the “space program has helped encourage interest in science, led to scientific advances and contributed to feelings of patriotism.”
“It’s worth recalling that in 1972, when the shuttle program was approved, the war in Vietnam was raging and our nation was on the verge of both stagflation and the energy crisis,” Blakey said. “Our leaders at the time wisely continued to invest in developing the shuttle and these investments have paid off handsomely. NASA comprises less than one half of one percent of the federal budget, yet it’s an enormous benefit to our nation.”