U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, the Mississippi Republican who chairs the House Science space and aeronautics subcommittee, penned an op-ed for The Hill newspaper this week supporting the Obama administration’s public-private human spaceflight strategy.
“In the clamor for increased R&D spending in today’s struggling economy, it is important to note this public-private balance holds the key for future successes. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than with current NASA operations. Even in the face of slashed budgets, NASA is balancing development of our next-generation rocket system and the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle while supporting commercial cargo launch efforts to the International Space Station. Developing a mutually beneficial relationship between NASA and commercial industry can enable commercial providers to carry human crews to low Earth orbit in the near future.
“This will have major impacts for our nation’s space presence in the world alongside the emerging space tourism industry, which promises to be a billion-dollar economy within the next decade. This is good news at a time when we depend on Russia’s space program to send astronauts to the International Space Station, and as China emerges as a space leader. We cannot cede hard-earned American leadership to other nations due to our own neglect.”