Texas Governor Rick Perry sharply criticized the end of the space shuttle program yesterday, issuing the following statement:
Forty-two years ago yesterday, America captured the world's imagination by putting a man on the moon, highlighting an era of excellence in space exploration. Unfortunately, with the final landing of the Shuttle Atlantis and no indication of plans for future missions, this administration has set a significantly different milestone by shutting down our nation's legacy of leadership in human spaceflight and exploration, leaving American astronauts with no alternative but to hitchhike into space.
The Obama Administration continues to lead federal agencies and programs astray, this time forcing NASA away from its original purpose of space exploration, and ignoring its groundbreaking past and enormous future potential. It is time to restore NASA to its core purpose of manned space exploration, and to define our vision for 21st Century space exploration, not in terms of what we cannot do, but instead in terms of what we will do.
The future of NASA is bleak, as detailed by the Wall Street Journal's Andy Pasztor, lacking public interest, political support, and congressional funds.
Watching our government willingly ground the space shuttle does sting our national pride a bit after America's victory in the space race.
The moment would be easy to bear, if we had a shiny new shuttle ready for launch, but many Americans remain stunned that we will pay Russia millions of dollars to ferry our astronauts to the International Space Station.
If Perry was to become president, could he have an impact on NASA and the future of space exploration?