Sen. Nelson, Remembering Sacrifices, Tells NASA to Follow the Law

Sen. Nelson, Remembering Sacrifices, Tells NASA to Follow the Law

In an op-ed in today’s Orlando Sentinel, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) discourses on the triumphs of exploration even though they entail sacrifices, such as the loss of the Challenger crew 25 years ago today.

He then wonders what the Challenger crew would say to policy-makers today who are “grappling with NASA’s budget and saying they can’t build a new rocket to replace the shuttle on time.” He repeats his admonition, made several times in recent months, that “NASA must stop making excuses and follow this law,” referring to the 2010 NASA authorization act of which he was one of the principle architects.

Remembering the crews of Apollo 204 and Columbia as well, he asserts that with all their sacrifices in mind “we must push forward and keep America at the forefront of space exploration.”

As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Nelson flew on the space shuttle mission on the flight immediately preceding the Challenger tragedy, STS 61-C. Current NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden was commander of the STS 61-C crew. NASA recently sent Congress an interim report saying that of all the rocket and crew capsule designs they have looked at, none can be built on the time schedule and within the budget constraints of the law. Bolden later emphasized in an interview with Space News that it was an interim report and said NASA is a “can do” agency and he believes they can do it within those constraints..

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