It’s important to us as a nation and here locally in Houston because this is NASA’s home. It's important because whoever owns the “high ground” --and space is the highest ground-- will have a vital advantage over all other countries. Weapons in space threaten all.
China has come from the country of bicycles that I saw on my first negotiating trip to Beijing in 1982 (I’m the long haired guy on the right in this photo taken in the original Peking Hotel during pollution control technology negotiations. The chief Chinese negotiator was Ms. Wang, the woman facing me) to only the third country on the planet that has put people in space and brought them back safely.
NASA’s funding from Congress in past years has been a roller coaster ride. It needs a steady secure flow of funds to take us to the next level. As it stands, the shuttle will retire years before its replacement is ready. Business would never tolerate letting a model become obsolete before having a replacement ready.
I just read where our primary satellite for tracking hurricanes is about at the end of its life – but NO REPLACEMENT has even been ordered -- although it will take 4 years to build one! Is anyone competent running our government? A hurricane satellite for the millions of us living near the coast is a necessity, not an optional expenditure. Many lives are at stake as we found out during Katrina.
What happened to common sense planning? The lack of it could cost us the next Moon race. The lack of a satellite could increase the loss of life during the next hurricane.
Real leadership, with some foresight, is needed…