Neil Armstrong Calls U.S. Space Program ‘Embarrassing And Unacceptable’

Published: Sep 25, 2021

At a meeting with a House Committee in Congress former astronaut Neil Armstrong, ripped the U.S. over its current space program calling it ‘Embarrassing and Unacceptable’. He was a part of a four-member panel that went to Washington to talk about the future of the program. He said it is embarrassing for NASA to have retired the shuttle program with no new means of traveling to space first.

“We will have no American access to, and return from, low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station for an unpredictable length of time in the future,” Armstrong told the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

“For a country that has invested so much for so long to achieve a leadership position in space exploration and exploitation, this condition is viewed by many as lamentably embarrassing and unacceptable.”

Armstrong who was the first to walk on the moon was joined by the last man to walk on the moon Eugene Cernan on the panel. Cernan called for NASA to bring back shuttles from retirement until a space flight program is ready to fly to space, in order to fill the gap.

President Barack Obama had canceled the Constellation program that would have returned humans to the Moon and called on NASA to focus on new, deep-space capabilities to tote people to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars by 2030.

NASA had made a plea to private industries to come up with a commercial space capsule to fly to the ISS, by 2015. As of right now the Russian Soyuz rocket is the only way to get astronauts to and from the space station. It will cost the U.S. between 50 and 60 million dollars for each astronaut to put on a Russian flight.

“Get the shuttle out of the garage down there at Kennedy, crank up the motors and put it back in service,” said Cernan. “You want a launch vehicle today that will service the ISS? We’ve got it sitting down there. So before we put it in a museum, let’s make use of it. It’s in the prime of its life, how could we just put it away?” Cernan added.

Cernan talked about the vision of John F Kennedy, “a bold and courageous president who started us on a journey to the stars”, and said thousands of Americans have been inspired by the space race with the Soviet Union. Today, we are on a path of decay. We are seeing the book close on five decades of accomplishment as the leader in human space exploration,”

Armstrong said, “A lead, however earnestly and expensively won, once lost, is nearly impossible to regain,”

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