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Congressman Rob Bishop

Representing the 1st District of Utah

Bishop Responds to Obama’s Job Killing Plan for NASA

April 16, 2010
Press Release
Congressman Rob Bishop (UT-01) today decried President Obama's plans to cancel the Ares rocket and NASA's human space flight program, noting that billions of taxpayer dollars will be wasted terminating a highly proven and successful Ares rocket program, with billions more being dumped into unproven start-up efforts that are over five years away from being ready.  

"The President's speech was heavy on rhetoric but light on details.  By shutting the door on one of our country's most valuable space and missile defense programs, we are wasting billions of taxpayer dollars, putting over 30,000 Americans out of work, and destroying an industrial base vital to the safety and security of this country.  Furthermore, President Obama has relinquished our position as the global leader in space and missile defense to Russia, China and India.  This is not just about space, this decision also negatively impacts our military preparedness as well," said Bishop.  

Alliant Techsystems (ATK), the builder of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters, is the primary contractor for the Ares rocket. ATK employs over 5,000 Utahns and it is anticipated that over 2,000 of those employees will likely be affected by the President's decision.  The uniquely skilled industrial base develops not only solid rocket systems that launch astronauts into space, but also U.S. missile defense systems.  Canceling the Ares rocket will destroy vital components of national defense capabilities.

"President Kennedy opened the door to the new frontier, but Obama has slammed it shut and thrown away the key.  We have seen many disappointing things from this Administration, not the least of which is their frivolous waste of taxpayer dollars, but just when you think things cannot possibly get any worse, they surprise you," Bishop added.  

According to NASA, "the Ares rocket was built on cutting-edge launch technologies, evolved powerful Apollo and space shuttle propulsion elements, and decades of NASA spaceflight experience.  It [Ares] is the essential core of a safe, reliable, cost-effective space transportation system -- one that will carry crewed missions back to the moon, on to Mars and out into the solar system."  Last fall the Augustine Commission made recommendations to the Administration, which are not now being followed.  Obvious problems illustrated in the report have been ignored, such as the impact on the industrial base.

"The President's proposal was clearly not thought through and will have obvious unintended consequences that could be avoidable. The Ares I has proven itself already with a highly successful test flight in October 2009.  There is no need to waste billions on Obama's new speculative idea when Ares can already do the job," Bishop concluded.  "The President's proposal is not about privatization.  It is about taking contracts given to the private sector companies that are successful and giving those same contracts to private sector companies that continue to fall short of projections.  Washington is again picking winners and losers, but not based on records of success."

The Ares rocket was named "The Best Invention of the Year" by TIME Magazine.

Click here to read more about Congressman Bishop's fight to save the Ares rocket