US Space Program ‘Embarrassing,’ Says Armstrong

The first man to walk on the moon had some strong words for the U.S. space program on Thursday, telling the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology that the retirement of the space shuttle has left it in an “embarrassing” state, according to AFP reports.

“We will have no American access to, and return from, low Earth orbit and the International Space Station for an unpredictable length of time in the future,” former astronaut Neil Armstrong, one of four space experts testifying before the committee, said, according to a September 22 report by Kerry Sheridan of the French news agency.

“For a country that has invested so much for so long to achieve a leadership position in space exploration and exploitation, this condition is viewed by many as lamentably embarrassing and unacceptable,” the 81-year-old Apollo 11 commander said.

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  1. September 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Well, price tag for Shuttle and for ISS is so high that it already killed endless number of opportunities, so decision was in a way right. But it had bad timing. New SLS had to be ready when Shuttle retires.
    Another thing is that it is, actually, a job creation program for Boeing and Lockheed-Martin more than anything else.

    • September 25, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      I’m afraid I have a “we’ll see” attitude toward NASA’s “vision” for manned spaceflight. I’ve heard so many promises of missions to the Moon, Mars and the asteroids that, at this point, I have a hard time believing any of it until I actually see the crew go up myself.

      • September 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm

        Basically, I don’t see the “reason” for anything more than LEO flights/microgravity, and maybe some science. No “Space Race”, and killing cost make this very hard sell. This is the bottom line. None politician will ever have courage to admit, that human spaceflight (as it is done now) is a waste, and that robotic missions can do the job, but this is the fact of life. Even for LEO. The only “hope” is China and new “Space Race”, IMHO. Another venue is cheap access to Space, but current setting of super-large corporations with super-powerfull lobbying resources stear everything towards expensive mamoth projects, like ISS. Unfortunately.

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