January 27th, 2012
03:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Space execs hope to rocket Romney

(CNN) - Eight former space executives threw their support behind Mitt Romney Friday, hoping to boost the candidate in a state with enormous stakes in America's space program.

In an open letter, the leaders said Romney was the candidate best positioned to reignite a program they said had languished under President Barack Obama.

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"Restoring the U.S. space program to greatness will require the leadership, management skill, and commitment to American exceptionalism possessed by only one candidate in this race: Mitt Romney," the group wrote in their letter.

In 2010, Obama announced he would cut NASA's lunar program from the federal budget, and focus more on exploration of deeper space. The space shuttle program officially ended in July 2011 with the launch of the shuttle Atlantis. Obama has advocated more private spacecraft for missions closer to Earth.

In their letter, Romney's space supporters described Obama's management of NASA as lacking "purpose or vision or mission."

"This failure of leadership has thrust the space program into disarray and triggered a dangerous erosion of our technical workforce and capabilities," the space leaders wrote. "In short, we have a space program unworthy of a great nation."

The letter also made a point of portraying Romney as realistic about America's space program, a point Romney himself made at Thursday's CNN Florida Republican Presidential Debate.

At the debate, Romney slammed rival Newt Gingrich for proposing expensive space plans in Florida, saying the former House speaker was pandering to the crowd with a vested interest in space investments.

"This idea of going state to state and promising what people want to hear, promising billions, hundreds of billions of dollars to make people happy, that's what got us into the trouble we're in now," Romney said.

The executives backing Romney are Scott Pace, director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, USSpace Chairman Mark Albrecht, Space Adventures CEO Eric Anderson, Apollo XVII Commander Gene Cernan, former shuttle pilot Bob Crippen, former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, former National Security Council Director of Space Policy Peter Marquez, and Tufts University Professor William Martel.

Also see:

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Jeb bush offers no endorsement, but a warning


Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Mitt Romney
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    Do we still have the money to explore space? Really?

    January 27, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. Cedar Rapids

    So the person that said he would fire someone if they approached him about moon bases because of the money, gets the support of people who were moaning about money being taken from their budget under Obama?
    Yeah, thats sounds like smart logic.

    January 27, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. Data Driven

    Can't afford a lunar base, sorry.

    I, for one, am glad Obama has tried to spend what little money we do have on digging us out of this recession, rather than squandering it on a special-interest giveaway like a moon base.

    January 27, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Typical GOBP deathcult propaganda. Claim to be fiscally responsible, then act otherwise.

    January 27, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. GI Joe

    I get really ticked when all the republicans quote Raygun as being the one citing "shining city on a hill" -- it was stolen from JFK.

    Just like Newt and now Mitt with their hopes for further space exploration -- again, JFK.

    JFK had new interstate roads already, everyone had a job already, Eisenhower hadn't put us into two UNFUNDED WARS, so we actually had the money to spend on those things.

    As long as we have homeless and unemployed veterans, not to mention all the other unemployed/underemployed, it's a no -brainer -- WE CAN'T AFFORD IT UNTIL WE GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK -- unless they raise taxes drastically on the wealthy.

    January 27, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. GREGG

    The height of irony was last year's Tea Party protest against President Obama's space program funding cuts. SOOOO typical please s;lash spending – unless it is for something I want, then HANDS OFF my federal largesse

    January 27, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  7. RD44

    Newts pandering is winning it for Mitt, Mitt balanced the budget 4 years as Governor, and business people
    are better at managing budgets and money, than Washington insiders like newt.

    January 27, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. rodwick

    Here we go again. The party that is socially not financially conservative pushes for big government programs. Its time American capitalist and industry got into the Space game if there is one at all. If no company will approach it then maybe we as a nation should consider space exploration for what it currently is, "something neat and cool but of little value in the grand scheme. Shut NASA down or change its mission. Space travel of human cargo should be a private sector game. If NASA needs to rent a ride better from an American company than a Russian one. Besides I don't think a Republican congress could fit the Space legislation into their agenda given that 90% of their activity is geared toward over turning Roe V Wade even though the people have already decided the law of the land on this subject.

    January 27, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. Willie Floyd

    Let's see what they say after they leave FL and the voters involved in NASA. Has anyone seen the bridge that was hit in KY?? Built in the '30s. If money is going to be spent-it should be on infrastructure where it's greatly needed. MOST important-it would add thousands of JOBS.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    January 27, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  10. Ralf The Dog.

    Don't get me wrong, space programs are the most important investment this country has or will ever make, however, going to the moon is silly. Unmanned space telescopes have told us far more about the Universe in the past few years than we have learned in all of human history. Probes to Mars have told us quite a bit about how our world works and probes to the gas giants have told us more than you can imagine about the development of the solar system. The ISS and it's zero G labs are teaching us a great deal about microbiology. Most of the drugs we will develop over the next 100 years will be directly or indirectly derived from that research.

    All that said, the Constellation program needed to die. It had unsolvable vibration problems that would have prevented it from ever getting a manned rating. The SDV is a better design that will cost much less. The moon is perhaps the most boring spot in the solar system. We could spend billions to take a few pictures of a few astronauts bunny hopping around, however, it would teach us nothing and do little to advance our technology. Lets spend the money on space telescopes and planetary probes as well as orbital microgravity research.

    January 27, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  11. gt

    pay down the national debt .. then i dont care where they go...mars...and take newt with the crew..

    January 27, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  12. Proud Progressive

    Truth really needs to change his/her name. He/she wouldn't know truth if it fell on his/her head. I can tell from the idiotic post that the only information he/she gets is (fair and balanced). Republican tv has done more harm to this country than bush, limbaugh and the taliban could ever hope to do. What a disgrace!

    January 27, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  13. MWM

    The space program would be a program to create jobs and buy goods actually produced in the US. The research on the manned space program has paid for itself many times over. It created advances in medicine, electronics, even such things as food preservation and shipping. Do you really think that the money would be shot into space. Every dollar would stay on the US.

    January 27, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. Pat

    Mittens Swiss bank accounts which he did not disclose in the full disclosure will fund the space program. There is only so much money, something has to be cut. Mittens last 20 years of tax returns will reveal how this weather vane tried to dupe the american tax system thru loopholes.

    January 27, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  15. jo an

    Another reason NOT to vote for Romney...the Space PROGRAM they want is a RACKET...

    January 27, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  16. GonzoinHouston

    In truth, NASA really hasn't had a well-defined mission since the Apollo program. After the lunar missions, NASA became just another federal agency, more concerned about next year's budget than anything else. The large contractors at the base are gorging for all they're worth at the federal trough, and delivering very little for it. Meanwhile, the private sector is miles ahead on the the single biggest problem facing space exploration: the high cost per pound of escaping Earth's gravity well. SpaceX is on the verge of cutting this cost by 90%, and more is possible. It hurts to admit this, but the leading edge in space isn't in Houston any more.

    January 27, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    "In the politics of the past, to get your vote in the, on the Space Coast, I'd come here and promise hundreds of billions of dollars," Romney said. "I'm not going to do that. I know that stuff is very attractive, very popular, but it's simply the wrong thing to do. It's not the way the best decisions are made."

    January 27, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. Put Newt in Deep Space

    Dateline: Newt's Moon Headquarters: On hearing this news, Gincrich announced plans to colonize Terra Nova as soon as he found the space portal to shoot his spaceship through.

    Newt did not take questions as he had to attend the birth of his soon to be fourth wife, and he had a lunar lauch to prepare for with Peppy the Chimpanzee

    January 27, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. Put Newt in Deep Space

    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 These are Newt's delegates jumping ship for fear of being sent to the lunar colony

    January 27, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  20. Someone else

    Either we all work together in exploring space, or we all die together destroying this planet.

    January 27, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. Spock

    To Comander Gingrich: It is illogical to me that a Repubican President can build a colony on the Moon in just 8 years without the help of the AFL CIO, especuially when Newt is all for right to work on the moon.. Unless Obama approves the Canada to Texas pipeline, Newt will not have enough Dilithium crystals for lift off to achieve lunar orbit That and the fact that Iran's President I'manutjob is secretly talking to the Romulans and may block the Moon's orbit from Newt's space ship. Beam me up Newt; I can help you.

    PS to Sarah Palin – If you are in the Moon Colony with Newt, do you have a better view of Russia from there?

    January 27, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    Translation: 8 major CEOs/owners/executives who make 8 figure salaries off federal money going into the space program, as opposed to private industry free market enterprise doing it all by itself, don't want their federal gravy train to go away.

    January 27, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  23. Chad%Biff

    Promise Romney that if he increases NASA'a budget, NASA will send a probe to the planet Kolob at the center of the galaxy where the Mormon god dwells with his many wives. That will excite him.

    January 27, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  24. Gemini Girl

    Isn't it Newty that has talked up the moon possibility? Willard says we can't afford it! This world is really upside down! I guess these space executives see $ potential in Willard. But neither one is going to win against the current President. Newt has too much baggage, has said demeaning things against Hispanics, and is hard to get along with. Willard cannot possibly relate to the comman man, is a flip-flopper, and sheltered $ in other countries. And this is the best you Repubs can do? Too funny.
    Obama 2012, Jon Huntsmann 2016.

    January 27, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    Or to put it another way: Mittens is so full of sheisse you can smell it growing out of his scalp.

    January 27, 2012 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
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