Former astronaut Neil Armstrong decried the lack of American access to low Earth orbit in the wake of the space shuttle’s retirement, telling U.S. lawmakers Sept. 22: “For a country that has invested so much for so long to achieve a leadership position in space exploration and exploitation, this condition is viewed by many as lamentably embarrassing and unacceptable,” AFP reported.

“A lead, however earnestly and expensively won, once lost, is nearly impossible to regain,” the first man to walk on the Moon told the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Armstrong was part of a four-member panel of space experts who appeared before the House panel to urge a stronger vision for NASA focused on returning humans to the Moon and to the international space station. President Barack Obama canceled the Moon-bound Constellation program last year.


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