April 14th, 2010
06:02 PM ET
5 years ago

Apollo astronauts decry Obama space plans

President Obama will unveil his vision for the space program.
President Obama will unveil his vision for the space program.

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration's vision for the future of manned space flight will bump the United States to "second or even third-rate" status as a space-faring nation, the commanders of three U.S. moon missions warned Thursday.

The letter was signed by the first and last men to walk on the moon - Neil Armstrong from Apollo 11 and Eugene Cernan from Apollo 17 - and James Lovell, who commanded the heroic Apollo 13 flight.

"Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to
mediocrity," the letter said. "America must decide if it wishes to remain a leader in space. If it does, we should institute a program which will give us the very best chance of achieving that goal."

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Filed under: NASA • President Obama
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Can we send Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann out to space and just leave them there. They'll both feel right at home because both of their heads are in limbo.

    April 14, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. michael armstrong sr.

    When the shutles are retired they should be overhauled and kept in a stand by mode for an unexspected emergency it would be foolish to be left without American transport into space .

    April 14, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Sources tell CNN that Obama is planning on offering amnesty for space aliens. A high level Obama adminstration official is quoted as saying, "People should have more empathy for these beings. After all, they only want to pilot the UFOs that Americans don't want".

    April 14, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. j

    There has been a lot of useful technologies as a result of the space program but otherwise it just seems like money that could be better spent elsewhere.

    April 14, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. SLM

    How can Obama promise to increase their budget when we are broke? Obama doesn't seem to understand he can't keep spending money we don't have. For a college educated man he sure is financially stupid. Pretty typical college grad, book smart, but not an ounce of common sense.

    April 14, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. greg O.

    Maybe if she stopped spending all of those tax payer dollars on her big entitlement program: chiefly herself

    April 14, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Good move. Time to modernize our outdated space program with a new vision and generation of vehicles. The shuttles are too dangerous and inefficient. Glad to see Obama has the leadership to take charge and bring NASA up to date.

    April 14, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Obozos big plan is probably to get rid of TEA party activists on the moon and of course, give the rest of the money to his lazy, smoking supporters and the corrupt slimy unions (I know its the same thing),

    April 14, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. Holding Up A Mirror

    With budget deficits running rampant, why do we NEED to spend money on space?

    This is a form of welfare. Space travel has no mission that is rooted in an outcome that is of value to the American people. That is the problem.

    We can no longer afford to do things which are NICE TO HAVE ... we must focus on the GOT TO HAVES. Where are all our GOP / Conservative representatives to oppose this Space Travel Boondoggle?

    Some squishy excuse around ... "Man has a need to explore" ... is not good enough for most Americans.

    Cl

    April 14, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. Mike Breneman

    I find it incredulous that given the size of the federal budget deficit that the President would talk of increasing any federal agencies' budget for any reason. Now is not the time to increase any federal spending.The international financial community is already concerned about the long-term solvency of the United States and yet we talk of increased deficit spending. If the intent of the increased $6B is economic stimilus than I say the higher multiplier is realized through reducing taxes by $6B and let increased consumption spending and personal debt reduction stimulate the economy. If the purpose of increasing NASA's budget is the pure pursuit of scientific advancement, then my response is that right now pursuing a manned flight to Mars serves no practical purpose and we can ill afford optional "luxury" spending at this time. If travel to Mars is so beneficial, then raise private capital from philantropists.

    April 14, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. LIP

    This sounds great on the surface. Let's just not set up another scenario where we export jobs overseas and drive unemployment up further. Americans need employment and we need to focus on what is wrong with our system and we should start with 'unions' and go from there.

    April 14, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Sarah the baby seal basher

    Here come more jobs.I cant wait to see the neoCON-ARTISTS heads implode.hahaha

    April 14, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Larry

    Human travel to Mars?

    Why?

    I wouldn't go to Mars if it were all expenses paid.

    Ever watch the Discovery Channel, Mr. President?

    April 14, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. Rick

    obama and an Idea, thats only because 1/2 million people are getting ready to be let go who worked on NASA oprojects because obama didnt put any money in his muslim bugdget for space, when are you dumb dems going to learn that all obama wants ids to be king osamabama

    April 14, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. Finally!

    Finally we're spending money on something that is necessary in the long run instead of wasting money on "faith-based" agendas a la Bush.

    April 14, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  16. walleye

    What is there not to like about this President? He makes Bush look like a totally inept LYING fool.

    April 14, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. Kathleen

    Can you bring some jobs to Illinois? When are these jobs available? And to who???????

    April 14, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |