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Unformatted text preview: once construction of the ISS is complete in 2010.
The shuttle’s successors, Orion and Ares I, are not expected to be ready for crewed flight until at least
2015. The difference between these dates is generally referred to as “the gap.” Congressional policy
makers and others have expressed concerns about U.S. access to space during the gap. The NASA
Authorization Act of 2005 declared it to be U.S. policy “to possess the capability for human access to
space on a continuous basis.”28 Former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, a strong advocate of the
Vision, has referred to the gap as “unseemly in the extreme.”29
Under current plans, Russian spacecraft will be the only means of access to the ISS for humans during the
gap. A variety of alternatives are being considered for cargo. These points are discussed further below in the
section “Post-Shuttle Access to the ISS.”
The prospect of the gap has intensified congressional concerns about whether the capabilities of the ISS will
be fully utilized. In addition to the uncertainty about U.S. access to the ISS during the gap period, it appears
possible that U.S. use of the station will end at about the same time as the shuttle’s successors first become
available, or even before. Gonzaga Debate Institute 2011
Politics Low Earth Orbit Systems – Popular – Congress
Low Earth orbit and transportation is popular – bipartisan support
The Washington Times, editorial, 5-3-11
(“House members question NASA's budget priorities” May 3, 2011, Lexis, EJONES)
NASA chief Charles Bolden Jr. told a skeptical House panel Wednesday that President Obama's budget
provides enough funds to maintain the agency's mission and stay on the cutting edge of innovation and space
exploration. But several members on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology told Mr.
Bolden, a former space shuttle commander, that Mr. Obama's blueprint and budget for the nation's space
program did not meet the challenges NASA faces. "I am concerned that the future of our space
program is in serious jeopardy," said Chairman Ralph M. Hall, Texas Republican. "As everyone knows,
we are in a challenging budget environment. In times like these, it is more important than ever for NASA
to have credible, realistic plans that can be understood and defended." The president's fiscal 2012
budget request of $18.7 billion represents no increase over 2011 spending, and is $300 million below what
Mr. Obama requested in his previous budget. But Mr. Bolden contended the agency could still pursue its
mission and expressed confidence that private businesses could fill the void with the pending retirement of
the space shuttle program. "We have got to develop commercial capability to get into low-Earth orbit ,"
he said. "The nation needs to become unafraid of exploration. We need to become unafraid of risks." But
even Democrats on the panel said Mr. Obama's new budget request leans more toward the commercial
activities, with less money going to NASA's own next-generation spacecraft. They compla...
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This note was uploaded on 01/14/2013 for the course POL 090 taught by Professor Framer during the Spring '13 term at Shimer.
- Spring '13