Status Report

Excerpt from 23 Jan 2004 White House Briefing by Scott McClellan regarding Hubble Serving Mission Cancellation

By SpaceRef Editor
January 24, 2004
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Q Scott, on the space program, there have been some complaints about NASA’s plans to scuttle the Hubble space telescope — Senator Mikulski and others. In light of the problems today with Spirit, is the President still committed, first of all, to scuttling Hubble, and is he still going to transfer the —

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, actually, there was some more positive news earlier today from Spirit, and obviously, Opportunity will — is scheduled to land on Mars tomorrow. NASA continues to stay on top of this — on top of this matter, and I think that they can provide you further details about the communications that they are receiving from Spirit earlier today, as well as how they’re continuing to move forward to pursue further communications with Spirit.

But the President remains strongly committed to the exploration of space for the reasons he stated in his speech. And what was important, remember, we had the terrible tragedy of the Space Shuttle Columbia. The President directed his administration to undertake a review of our space policy. And it’s important, and I think the President outlined this in his remarks, that we have a well-defined mission for space exploration. And that’s really what his policy was about, was defining a very clear mission for the future of our space program and for the future of space exploration. And I would point out that most of the resources directed toward that effort are coming from existing budgeted funds.

Q But for the sake of clarity, could you please get us a fuller explanation of why Sean O’Keefe plans to end the Hubble program?

MR. McCLELLAN: I think NASA can probably address those matters. But that’s why I pointed out, that it’s important that they focus their resources on a clearly defined mission. That’s where — the President wants to make sure that we’re focusing our resources on clear missions and on programs that produce meaningful results. And that applies to NASA, as well. And that’s why he outlined the speech that he did. I think NASA can talk to you more about some of the specific details within that.

SpaceRef staff editor.