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More Than 50 Astronauts, Scientists, and Industry Leaders Urge Congress to Fully Fund Commercial Crew

Press Release From: Commercial Spaceflight Federation
Posted: Wednesday, June 23, 2010

image Washington, D.C., June 23, 2010 - The Commercial Spaceflight Federation welcomes the support of more than 50 former NASA astronauts, scientists, and industry CEOs and leaders who sent a letter to Congress yesterday urging full funding of Commercial Crew and full support for NASA-led human space exploration beyond Earth orbit.

"It has been very gratifying to see the support for Commercial Crew from a broad cross-section of the community, ranging from former Apollo and Shuttle astronauts to scientists and former NASA Center Directors," stated Bretton Alexander, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

"Commercial Crew is key to ensuring full utilization of the International Space Station, minimizing the gap in human spaceflight, and allowing NASA to focus its limited resources on exploration beyond low Earth orbit," added Alexander. "President Obama's plan for NASA achieves both of these goals by pursuing a robust Commercial Crew program. The President's plan accelerates exploration by allowing NASA to focus on beyond-LEO exploration rather than spending its limited resources on a low Earth orbit transportation service. And given the urgency of the gap, the time is right to begin full funding of Commercial Crew now."

The signatories of the letter wrote, "We specifically wish to express our concern that the commercial crew to Space Station program is sometimes seen as optional or too risky to America's future in space, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the commercial crew to Space Station program is a fundamental enabler of NASA's human space exploration beyond Earth orbit, specifically because it will free up the NASA dollars needed to develop deep space transportation and exploration systems for astronauts."

Notable signatories include former Apollo-era NASA astronauts such as Owen Garriott (Skylab 3, STS-9) and Rusty Schweickart (Apollo 9); former NASA Kennedy Center Director Jim Kennedy, who also served as Deputy Director of NASA Marshall; former NASA Ames Center Director Scott Hubbard, who also served as a Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) member; former FAA Associate Administrator Patti Grace Smith; President and CEO of the Universities Space Research Association Fred Tarantino; former NASA Associate Administrator for Science Alan Stern; and former Columbia Accident Investigation Board member John Logsdon.

To view the full letter, please visit http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=34355

About the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

The mission of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) is to promote the development of commercial human spaceflight, pursue ever-higher levels of safety, and share best practices and expertise throughout the industry. The Commercial Spaceflight Federation's member companies, which include commercial spaceflight developers, operators, spaceports, suppliers, and service providers, are creating thousands of high-tech jobs nationwide, working to preserve American leadership in aerospace through technology innovation, and inspiring young people to pursue careers in science and engineering. For more information please visit www.commercialspaceflight.org or contact Executive Director John Gedmark at john@commercialspaceflight.org or at 202.349.1121.

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