We Should Be Exploring Space as a Human Race

Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) [“Do We Have the Will To Do Right by NASA?,” Oct. 6, page 27] and interested citizen Dave Gaeddert in Buffalo, N.Y., are both interested in U.S. manned spaceflight, but we come to different conclusions.

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and his team estimate a 1 in 75 chance of losing a shuttle orbiter with each flight, hence about 1 in 8 of losing an orbiter through the last 10 flights planned. Remembering Challenger, Columbia and their crews, I believe we should stick with the plan and be fully prepared to finish the [shuttle] program with fewer than the three orbiters now on hand. Rep. Weldon’s campaigning against every government he disagrees with will not put extra billions in NASA’s budget. Nor will it ease the grief and policy problems caused by losing another shuttle and crew.

Cooperation in space has been successful, from Skylab and Vostok in the ’70s to the current international space station. I believe we should work hard to explore space as a human race rather than one nation being able to do everything.

Dave Gaeddert

Buffalo, N.Y.