McCain said it is unacceptable for the U.S. to have to rely on the Russians, especially given the current conflict with Georgia and the resulting strain on U.S.-Russian relations. He got no argument from the people in the room, but several of the company and other local leaders said extending the space shuttle was the way to prevent that.
Mike McCulley, a former astronaut and former top executive with space shuttle prime contractor United Space Alliance, gave the most direct appeal for continuing shuttle operations so that the U.S. can get astronauts to the space station.
"We are going to look up one night and see this $100 billion thing going by with no Americans on it," McCulley said, his voice rising as he spoke. McCain nodded along and asked a couple questions about McCulley's position, but mostly just listened.
"That just makes me shudder," McCulley continued. "It made me shudder in January of 2004 (when President Bush announced the new space exploration vision). The only way that you cannot have a gap is to continue to fly our existing system and that is the shuttle."
Monday, August 18, 2008
McCain at Brevard College
From Flame Trench here: