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.

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

    Oops, excuse me...it's not just richies who make money off federal space contracts...but also academics/researchers who depend on federal grant money for their space research and don't want their federal gravy train to dry up.

    January 27, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  2. Laverne

    Yeah and what the republicans won't tell you is that most of he the space programs and rockets were ordered to retire by the Bush administration.

    January 27, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    The exploration of space is the latest frontier for mankind. Every exploration has been deemed a waste of money by the powers that be. Columbus tried several times before the Spanish crown financed his trip. The folks that discovered gold in the west of America paid their own way. Nobody knows for sure what will be profitable on the moon or throughout near space (our solar system). Many will lose their shirt, possibly their lives, but some will find unimaginable riches by having the foresight and gumption to atke chances the government deems unacceptable.

    January 27, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. Steve/Oklahoma

    Good Ol' Mitt. Pandering and pandering. How would he pay for this? Don't ask Mitt, he has NO idea.

    January 27, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  5. Guy In MN

    I'm totally fine with a space program. Lets build a moon base, fly all the GOP elected officials, Rush Limbaugh and the likes there and abandon them there.

    January 27, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    I wish that some of these Republicans would become LOST IN SPACE!

    January 27, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. RomneyRubio2012

    Romney Rubio 2012!

    January 27, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  8. Jake

    but what about Newton's MOON COLONY!?!?

    January 27, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. southside mike

    Space exploration is a luxury we cannot afford at this time... I am as big a supporter of NASA (other than employees and suppliers) and recognize what inventions they have given us in the past...but the well is dry we are tapped out, and unless they want to work for the military I see no immediate future spending in space.

    January 27, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Gemini Girl

    Perhaps after Lizard Newt loses, he can spearhead space exploration, have a moon base built, for himself, Trump, Alaskan Palin, Bachmann, Crazy Jan Brewer, and the two other crazy ladies: Christine O'Donnell ("I'm not a witch") of Delaware & Sharon Angle of Nev., who lost to Harry Reid. Trump & Newt would have a field day living out there with these "fine" ladies! LOL
    R-Money? When he loses, he'll just give back those mom-jeans.....

    January 27, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. fernace

    When the country is in the dire straights that we have been experiencing, I'm glad to know our Commander in Chief will suspend programs that aren't necessary to our suvival! I'm a proponent of the space program, not just for what they accomplish in space, but for all the wonderful innovations that have resulted! But when the nation is in recession we must all tighten our belts(except the rich), to get us up & running again! If the space program has to wait a while, I'm good w/that!!

    January 27, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  12. Founders1791

    Newt's idea is to take the 'existing' $31 billion budget and launch facilities and 'open them to private use'. America does not have a means to put people in space right now. We have to use Russia.

    By opening the best facilities in the World (NASA) to private companies, Newt can encourage 'them' by offering a Prize or Preferred Terms to build a settlement on an orbiting body that is a necessity if you wish to colonize space, go onto Mars, or beyond to others

    The growing list of those Private Companies to dangle the carrots in front can be found on Wiki

    January 27, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. Oodoodanoo

    Robotic missions do real science for a fraction of the price. What these guys are lamenting is the "fraction of a price" part.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    January 27, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. NH Grandma

    And that funding will come from where? Will Mittens foot the bill out of his private coffers? Let us vote on this. I don't want my tax money going to the moon right now. Let the wealthy 1% fund it themselves with all they are saving.

    January 27, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. CBR

    Who do they think they are fooling? Just where will the funding come form? We are already trillions in debt and the space program is extraordinarily expensive. Try some funding with private money.

    January 27, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. Namejkane fl

    Any body that votes for these teapublican clowns that talk out of both side of their is just as much of a loser as they are, cut it unless we want it to pad our buiddies pockets. Just like iraq war

    January 27, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  17. Lisa

    So let me see if I understand this - the GOP stands for less government and more private enterprise. They are upset with Obama for cutting funding yet these space execs think Romney, the GOP candidate, if elected will restore funding to the space program. IOW, restore the corporate welfare they've been receiving. But, hey, let's not fund any green start-ups because, you know, they'll just go bankrupt. I wonder how much was spent on failed space programs that no one complained about.

    I guess it's okay to cut funding for social programs but not okay to cut funding for corporate programs. Of course, we know they'll want their money with no strings attached.

    January 27, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  18. w l jones

    Why waiste good money on building when it should be going in new fuiel research that would power spaceship to at least one uninhabit planet not far from here. Other civilization on other Solar system moving in our direction so we better get on the ball and colonize at least one very soon.

    January 27, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  19. Danny

    Hello, all that this guy MItt wants to do is privatize it also; That is why all those private corporation guys are supporting him, not actual NASA guys. So as for putting down President Obama, Mitt makes no sense on this; He wants to privatize the WHOLE space program, while Obama is just for privatizing launching of satilites.

    January 27, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  20. Mark

    More partisan BS all over the place. I have not decided yet but so far none of the candidates are very impressive – and the hypocrisy in the comments is mind boggling. LOL so private enterprise is good...except when Obama supports it, riiiiiiight? Gotcha. Absolute hypocrites.

    January 27, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  21. Tony

    The space executives know that Romney will give them tax cuts. As for the space program, right now the government already does not have enough money to pay for defense, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. If Romney gets his tax cuts passed, the government will have even less.

    January 27, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  22. Dan

    The Republicans have tried to cut every social program they could find because....WE HAVE NO MONEY. If these "space executives" really think Obama could have got billions of dollars in space funding through Congress, then they're sure as heck no rocket scientists.

    January 27, 2012 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  23. Sagebrush Shorty

    Class warfare is the hallmark of the Obama administration.

    January 27, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  24. DENNA

    Dudes, we seriously do not have money for this right now. At least I know why Newt was pushing living on the moon or some such nonsense like that. Anyway, the space program is not as important as getting ordinary Americans back to work. Why does no one see this? Also, is it just me or does Newt look and sound like a old woman? Geez-o-Pete Callista, no taste honey?

    January 27, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  25. Spock500

    So, tell us, conservatives, Republicans,Tea Baggers, and the like, how our country supposed to pay for this? Hmm?

    January 27, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
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