Press Release

Weldon Says Russian Waiver Means Pink Slips for KSC

By SpaceRef Editor
September 12, 2008
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“To rely on Russia for the future of the U.S. Space Program is Irresponsible and Dangerous”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Dave Weldon (FL-15) denounced the efforts by Senator Bill Nelson and others to obtain a waiver of the Iran Nonproliferation Act for NASA. This waiver would allow the U.S. to purchase the Russian-made Soyuz spacecraft and force the U.S. to rely on Russia over the next five to seven years to transport American astronauts in space to reach the U.S.-led International Space Station.

“This is all very disturbing to me and NASA is acting very schizophrenic on this matter. Last week NASA said OMB was on a fiscal ‘jihad’ to kill the shuttle and that NASA should now come up with plans to fly the shuttle beyond 2010. I support this and so does Republican Presidential nominee John McCain. This week a news report states that NASA now believes the ‘Soyuz option is simply the only sure solution.’ So much for that good old American can-do spirit!”

Senator Nelson seems to think we should rely on the Russians as well, saying yesterday “we don’t have any choice, if we want to access our own space station.” Yet at a June rally of space supporters and KSC workers at Port Canaveral, Sen. Nelson was mocking the idea that the “U.S. government can buy rides on the Soyuz spacecraft to get to the International Space Station.”, [click on Rally To Save NASA Jobs.] And later at a hearing, he stated to NASA Administrator Griffin regarding the current 2010 Shuttle deadline, “When one of those space centers gets absolutely whacked, where it’s heart is cut out, it’s not a healthy space center, it’s a space center that’s on life support.”

Congressman Weldon responded to Sen. Nelson’s doublespeak stating, “Sen. Nelson was right in mocking the idea of us buying rides on the Russian Soyuz. Laying off thousands of experienced space program workers and relying on Russia to get the U.S. into space was a bad idea then, and it is even a worse idea now. By granting the Russians a waiver, as he now advocates, we will guarantee thousands of pink slips to workers at KSC. Russia continues to sell dangerous technologies directly related to weapons of mass destruction to Iran, defies sovereign rights in Georgia, and threatens Poland with intervention. Yet NASA and Sen. Nelson want to do business as usual with them.”

“Lastly, this isn’t about a lack of funds as some claim. During its tenure, this administration has allowed community development spending to increase 91%, education to increase 57%, Medicare 51% and so on. NASA and the shuttle just wasn’t a priority for them and now we are seeing the consequences,” concluded Weldon.

SpaceRef staff editor.