Minding the Gaps
July 31, 2007
It is clear that the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE) has become a truly national vision. With the first announcement of the VSE by President George W. Bush in January 2004, the United States’ space program has been reinvigorated with a new sense of purpose. In the VSE, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been given a mandate to do the following:
- Complete the International Space Station (ISS) by 2010
- Retire the space shuttle by 2010
- Develop of a new vehicle to continue the United States’ long-established human spaceflight program, and
- Return a human to the lunar surface by 2020.
From the passage of the NASA Authorization Act of 2005, which endorsed the VSE, with broad margins, to the recent approvals of budgets for NASA exceeding the president’s requested increase, the solid bicameral and bipartisan support for this bold endeavor demonstrates the strong national interest in pursuing this ambitious set of goals. More recently, 17 senators and representatives requested that the White House convene a bipartisan, bicameral summit to address the United States’ future in space and its challenges.