Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's Opening Statement on "The Future of Human Space Flight" Hearing
Washington, Oct 16, 2003 -"The Future of Human Space Flight" Hearing" October 16, 2003
House Science Committee
I want to thank the Chairman for holding this timely hearing on the future of human space flight. Columbia's tragic destruction has put us at a crossroads. A time for decision once again and its been painfully demonstrated that human space flight is difficult, expensive and dangerous. Columbia's courageous crew understood the risks. Their sacrifice, however, may have provided this nation the needed spark to make fundamental decisions that have been put off for too long.
Unlike the 1960's, today's NASA lacks a unifying vision. While we struggle to decide fundamental goals, the Chinese regime has sent its first astronaut into orbit, the first step in achieving ambitious goals. What are our ambitious goals? Recent scientific studies reveal that the Moon may contain five times more water than previously believed, as well as minerals that hold the promise of clear burning fuel for use here on Earth. The Chinese long-term human space flight program suggests that the Moon is more than just a place for planting flags and picking up rocks. What about us? We remain mired in indecision and bureaucracy.
The tragic episodes of Columbia, Challenger, and even the Apollo mission, or any future mission, must not weaken our resolve to meet the challenges ahead. There is a role for humans in space, and Americans must lead the way or be left behind.
Thank you Mr. Chairman