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“Houston, we have a problem.” Those famous words uttered during one of the most dramatic and triumphant space missions in the history of U.S. space exploration have grown to symbolize American capacity to overcome the most overwhelming obstacles.
Now we have a problem just as daunting, if not as dramatic. The backdrop is an economic landscape that is still experiencing Richter-scale tremors, including lingering unemployment at levels not seen in more than 30 years, and a manufacturing infrastructure that is increasingly moving overseas. We are at risk of losing our edge in technological advances and, more specifically, our hard-won leadership in space.
Unfortunately, the American public is largely unaware that the U.S. space program faces a formidable challenge. The Obama administration is proposing to cancel the current government-run space exploration program, known as Constellation, and instead encourage a market-based solution for commercial space transportation – primarily for delivering cargo and crew to the International Space Station. Many in Congress reacted to his proposal with outright animosity fearing that transferring our space transportation infrastructure to the commercial sector would ultimately lead to ceding our role as the international leader in space. A stalemate between Congress and the administration ensued and now each side waits for the other to blink.
Read more at The Hill's Congress Blog