Save the Space Shuttle

  • by: Jeremy Comment
  • recipient: The President and the members of Congress

This Petition seeks to keep the Space Shuttle Fleet flying until Project Constellation is operational.

We the undersigned are taking issue that, the Space Shuttle fleet is set to retire in 2010 by Presidential order. This petition seeks to have this decision revised to a project milestone event, rather then a fixed timeframe. That milestone being such a time that the Project Constellation has demonstrated itself as a viable and safe U.S. alternative to all types of work the remaining Shuttle fleet has been performing in space for years. Extending the deadline for Shuttle retirement to this milestone will eliminate the estimated 4 year gap the U.S. will be without domestic access to space and then solely relying on Russian spacecraft for human access to the ISS. This also will allow for the continued construction and maintenance of the ISS beyond 2010, as well as our current array of space based telescopes and other space assets, all of these are continually at risk without any chance of repair during this unnecessary time period.

Also we feel that by spending Billions more to rushing the completion of an untested and undemonstrated spacecraft is not in the best interests of our country or our space program, and it still potentially will not meet the immediate needs of our space program in the very near future. The Space Shuttle is currently being operated in the safest means possible (safer then anytime in history), due respectfully, to the hard and unfortunate lessons of neglected or misunderstood failure modes and by trying to push deadlines that put our brave Astronauts at risk. In short we know more today about how to make the shuttle fly safely, then any future space vehicle we have yet to build, because we have flow the Shuttle more then hundred times, learning from our mistakes. These patterns of taking unnecessary risks are already repeating themselves in Project Constellation though the chronic under funding of our Space program by Congress and the subsequent rushing of our space contractors to meet ever shortening deadlines. We owe it to our heroes to learn from our mistakes, and further by not continuing to repeat them. Instead of trying to take shortcuts, we need to build the next US space vehicles the safest and best we can, not as cheap and as quickly as possible.

Just as important, prematurely retiring the remaining Shuttle Fleet will cause the loss of too many American jobs and with those jobs valuable experience not only in the State of Florida but also across the country. Billions of dollars that otherwise would be going as pay to American families and also for the rebuilding of American space infrastructure will be going overseas for an outsourced service, space flight and construction or repair of the still uncompleted ISS. This money if spent in the U.S. to domestic contractors and employees will be reinvested into this country, just as the emergency economic stimulus package has done this year, but while still providing a valuable service for this country, preserving our access to Space and maintaining an iconic symbol of our American ingenuity and a valuable part of our unique identity.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.

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