CONTACT: Craig Stevens (202) 225-3671

WASHINGTON, DC — Earlier this week Thomas Young, formerly of
Lockheed Martin and NASA Ames Research Center released his report on the
Mars exploration program. This report was commissioned by NASA in response
to recent failures of NASA’s Mars projects, the Mars Climate Orbiter and the
Mars Polar Lander.

After beginning to review the Young Report, Rep. Dave
Weldon (R-Palm Bay), Vice-Chairman of the Science Subcommittee on Space and
Aeronautics made the following statement:

“First of all, I want to commend
the thoroughness of Thomas Young and his entire report team. Their
commitment to our future exploration of Mars is evident in their work.

we all begin to review this report and assess the future of our missions to
Mars, it is important to focus on the successes, while learning from our
failures. Mr. Goldin’s “faster, better, cheaper” mantra, has been in the
headlines lately and has come under much scrutiny throughout the entire
aerospace industry. While such an approach can work, as evidenced by the
spectacular Mars Pathfinder mission and other missions like Mars Global
Surveyor and Deep Space 1, the losses of all four spacecraft bound for Mars
last year demands a reflection on any weaknesses to “faster, better,
cheaper.” Maybe we should rethink our approach a little, possibly to
“smaller, swifter, smarter.”

“The findings of the Young Report are indeed
troubling, and it is my sincere hope that NASA will be better equipped,
informed, and educated after proper reflection and assessment. While these
failures have been a heavy blow to our Mars exploration program, NASA must
be supported through this time of evaluation and correction. Nonetheless,
NASA management must ensure that NASA’s other objectives, namely the human
space flight program, are beyond reproach. I eagerly await NASA’s assessment
and resultant action items as they revise the Martian exploration
architecture and chart a course of success that builds from these