Feeds

Neil Armstrong renews attack on Obama space vision

Prez 'poorly advised', insists Moon vet

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Neil Armstrong has renewed his criticism of Barack Obama's space vision, insisting that the president's decision to scrap Constellation and head off to Mars was "poorly advised".

Speaking yesterday to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Armstrong said: "I have yet to find a person in NASA, the Defense Department, the Air Force, the National Academies, industry, or academia that had any knowledge of the plan prior to its announcement.

"A plan that was invisible to so many was likely contrived by a very small group in secret who persuaded the president that this was a unique opportunity to put his stamp on a new and innovative program. I believe the President was poorly advised."

Armstrong went on to insist that the US was effectively throwing away half a century of work which had allowed it to "acquire a position of leadership in space". He lamented: "If the leadership we have acquired through our investment is allowed simply to fade away, other nations will surely step in where we have faltered. I do not believe that this would be in our best interests."

The veteran astronaut's latest attack on his country's loss of direction comes after last month's open letter to Obama, in which he, Eugene Cernan and James Lovell warned of "a long downhill slide to mediocrity" which would result from the loss of the the Ares I and V lifters.

Obama's bold plan is to outsource low-Earth orbit operations - such as supplying the International Space Station - to private enterprise, while concentrating on a new generation of heavy lifters capable of reaching Mars. The only part of Constellation spared the chop is the Orion crew capsule, although it will now serve as merely an ISS lifeboat, rather than as part of a manned return to the Moon.

Despite Armstrong's assertions, White House science adviser John Holdren told the Senate Committee his boss's decision "was not hasty", and that those consulted included NASA chief Charles Bolden.

He said: "The president heard from a lot of people in this process. He got to the best and most balanced program for NASA, including its human spaceflight dimension, that the country can afford."

It's evident that space vets will take some convincing. Apollo 17 commander Cernan was also on hand to weigh in with: "We (Armstrong, Lovell and myself) have come to the unanimous conclusion that this budget proposal presents no challenges, has no focus, and in fact is a blueprint for a mission to nowhere." ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.