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Former Secretary of Transportation Mineta Praises Obama's NASA Plan For Jump-Starting Commercial Spaceflight

Press Release From: Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Posted: Friday, April 23, 2010

image Norman Mineta, who served as Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush and as Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton, and who represented Silicon Valley in Congress for more than 20 years, has published an op-ed stating, "With Russia, China and India close on our heels, the only way we can maintain our hard-won leadership in space transportation is by employing America's unique entrepreneurial strength. Obama's new plan for NASA does exactly that."

Mineta's op-ed in Silicon Valley's San Jose Mercury-News, titled "Time to Bring Silicon Valley Spirit to Space Industry," can be read at http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_14929987 .

Mineta, a longtime Silicon Valley leader both in Congress and as mayor of San Jose, stated, "As President Barack Obama outlined in a historic speech last week, NASA will now partner with commercial space companies to bring that Silicon Valley spirit to all of NASA and breathe new life into the space industry." Mineta added, "When I was secretary of transportation, I had final authority for more than 40 FAA-licensed commercial rocket launches. Safety is something I take very seriously, and I would not be advocating for expanded commercial space flight if I didn't believe it would be safe."

A bipartisan figure, Mineta became only the fourth person to be a member of Cabinet under two Presidents from different political parties when he became Secretary of Transportation for President Bush after being Secretary of Commerce for President Clinton.

In the op-ed, Mineta stated, "While the Atlas and Delta rockets have extensive track records, it is not just the established companies that will compete in this new industry. Having spent two decades representing Silicon Valley in Congress, I say it's long overdue to bring in entrepreneurs to this sector, with all their fresh ideas, private investment and new business approaches."

The President's new plan has also been endorsed by other public figures such as New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former Congressman Newt Gingrich, and James Cameron, who served on the NASA Advisory Council from 2003 to 2005. Newspaper editorial board endorsements of the new NASA plan include The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Economist, Nature, Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tampa Tribune, and the Chicago Tribune.

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