Press Release

Space Frontier Foundation Ridicules NASA for Praising and Perpetuating Expensive Socialist Spaceflight Monopoly

By SpaceRef Editor
October 5, 2000
Filed under

pace Frontier Foundation

11350 Ventura Blvd., #100

Studio City, CA 91604

1(800) 78-SPACE

Media Contact: James George

Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 5, 2000): The Space Frontier Foundation ridiculed
NASA
celebrations of the 100th launch of the 1970’s vintage Space Shuttle as
a
celebration of failure, by pointing out that some 40 years after the
dawn of
the space age it still takes tens of thousands of government employees
and
over 1/2 billion taxpayer dollars to fly a handful of government
astronauts
into space for a week.

“Only NASA would think that’s a cause for celebration,” stated
Foundation
President Rick Tumlinson. “Instead of privatizing the Shuttle years ago,
or
supporting commercial space transportation, NASA maintains its human
spaceflight monopoly. Meanwhile, former socialists in Russia are working
with
private American citizens to carry commercial passengers into space for
around $20 million per ticket. What’s wrong with this picture?”

To Foundationers, the celebrations are a bizarre public relations twist
on a
reality of lies and broken promises. Thirty years ago, President Richard

Nixon initiated the Space Shuttle program as the “next big project” for
NASA
after Apollo. But instead of delivering the promised “space truck” that
would
fly 50 times a year for perhaps $10 million a flight, NASA built a
complicated vehicle that still requires 20,000 people to fly 1/10 as
much per
year for fifty times as much cost.

“The key problem is that the Shuttle is a government-owned and operated
system,” continued Tumlinson. “Do we expect the Air Force to run an
airline,
or the Navy to run cruise ships? Of course not. But for some reason, we
have
this crazy notion that NASA has to control every aspect of human space
flight, including routine missions to Earth orbit. It is time to let
private
enterprise lower the cost of access to space and spur a revolution in
space
commerce, creating new industries and jobs.”

The Foundation, which coined the term “Cheap Access to Space,” called
for
NASA to privatize the Space Shuttle so it can operate less expensively,
stop
wasting taxpayer funds on failed attempts to replace the Shuttle with รข
govern
ment-annointed vehicles like the X-33 and the proposed $4.5 billion
Space
Launch Initiative Program – that it sees as a veiled attempt to create
Shuttle II, and support commercial space transportation by buying needed

services from private firms, and funding technology and operability
demonstrations by the private sector to build customer and investor
confidence.

Space transportation will be the focus of several panels at the Space
Frontier Conference October 19-22, 2000, at the Manhattan Beach
Marriott,
located near Los Angeles International Airport, CA. For more
information
on the conference, see http://www.space-frontier.org/Events/SFC9/ or
call
1-800-78-SPACE

*NOTE TO EDITORS: Media covering the event are welcome to attend the
conference free of charge. To request a press badge, please call our
toll-free number or send email to press@space-frontier.org.

SpaceRef staff editor.