Press Release

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich Proposes Space Settlement as National Goal SFF is Encouraged by the Increasing Support for Space Settlement

By SpaceRef Editor
January 26, 2012
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Cocoa, FL – The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) was excited to hear a proposal for space settlement described by a major presidential candidate on the national stage as opening the space frontier to human settlement is the mission of the SFF. During yesterday’s Town Hall speech on the space coast, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich presented a grand and practical plan for space built on previous American models such as the transcontinental railroad and airline industry. The SFF applauds Speaker Gingrich for embracing space settlement and is celebrating that support for space settlement has grown to include large parts of NASA, the current administration, and Speaker Gingrich.

Gingrich’s proposal includes several goals, all of which aim to have people permanently living and working in space. These include the first permanent base on the moon and legislation allowing it to petition to become a state when 13,000 Americans are living there, constant commercial activities in LEO for science, tourism and manufacturing designed to create a robust industry, and a continuous propulsion system in space to get humans to Mars quickly by the end of 2020.

“I wanted every young American to say to themselves, ‘I could be one of those 13,000 people. I could be a pioneer. I need to study science and math and engineering. I need to learn how to be a technician. I can be a part of building a bigger, better future. I can actually go out and live the future looking at the solar system and be part of a generation of courageous people who do something big and bold and heroic,'” said Gingrich.

He plans to achieve these laudable goals by using technology practically, such as sharing space vehicles between commercial, military, and NASA. He also calls for enabling an airport-like system to handle 5-8 launches a day. Gingrich strongly promoted the use of prizes to encourage the entrepreneurial skills of America, conceivably settling space even faster.

“I disagree with Speaker Gingrich on far too many issues to ever endorse him, but I support his ideas for embracing the space frontier. I also commend him for being one of the few Republicans to support President Obama’s NASA budget proposals recently, as the president tried to expand NASA from exploring space to settling it,” said SFF Keep the Promise project manager Aaron Oesterle. “He, like President Obama and me, understand that every dollar put into human spaceflight MUST be directed towards space settlement.”

The goal of space settlement has now been endorsed on a national stage by NASA’s Review of Human Space Flight Plans Committee, implicitly enabled by President Obama past NASA budget proposals, and has been explicitly stated by a major presidential candidate. Those pushing for space settlement should feel emboldened, as there is historical precedent for this path and leaders from both sides of the political spectrum are publicly rallying for a diversified space industry focused on settlement.

“Today Speaker Gingrich laid out a bold vision for America’s future in space,” said Will Watson, the Space Frontier Foundation’s Executive Director. “It wasn’t a plan for NASA, or for a few astronauts and aerospace contractors, but for all Americans. Although the Space Frontier Foundation is non-partisan, we are emboldened, and we strongly urge all the candidates to lay out equally powerful visions for America and the Space Frontier.”

SpaceRef staff editor.