To save money, this budget bash is about to gush over three quarters of a billion dollars from America’s space budget directly into the coffers of the Russians. Penny wise and billion dollar foolish.
Ever since the retirement of the Shuttle in 2011, America has been unable to launch astronauts into orbit on American launch vehicles. Yes, there is currently no American craft, no matter how modest, that can put humans into space. At a time when even the Iranians are launching monkeys. Embarrassing, right?
As NASA administrator Charles Bolden told a NASA audience in Huntsville, Alabama, on February 22nd: “Budget sequestration will slow NASA’s effort to start a commercial space industry to take astronauts to the International Space Station on American spacecraft. The gap between America and Russia, which can still launch astronauts, will not close. The gap is going to get bigger. Anybody who thinks this is no big deal – it’s a big deal.”
And every year we go without our own access to space, we are forced to pay another $350 million to $400 million to the Russians. In fact, on March 14, 2011, NASA reached an agreement to pay Russia $753 million for twelve round trip tickets to our station in the sky. That’s three quarters of a billion dollars. And if the U.S.’s period without American vehicles stretches out, that figure will increase. Think about it. $753 million or more siphoned from the American space program and used to underwrite Russian research and development and Russian leadership in space. When Russia’s Sputnik went up in 1957 and shocked the USA, the idea of underwriting Russian space development and crippling ours would have been unthinkable.
“And every year we go without our own access to space, we are forced to pay another $350 million to $400 million to the Russians’
Ha! Each Shuttle flight averaged 1.6 BILLION dollars. We are saving BILLIONS by hiring a Russian taxi.