Head of NASA: Congress, Stop Paying Russia to Send Americans to Space
In an open letter to Congress today, ex-astronaut and current
published at Wired
, doesn't waste a moment getting to the point. "Congress, Don't Make Us Hitch Rides with
"It's as if we keep ordering expensive takeout because we haven't yet set up our own kitchen-only, in this case, the takeout meals are costing us hundreds of millions of dollars," he writes.
He urges Congress to invest more in President Obama's Commercial Crew plan, which called for NASA to work with American companies who'd build new commercial technologies for low-earth orbit, thus allowing NASA to focus on deep space exploration.
"On a per-seat basis, it costs approximately $81 million to send an American astronaut to the Space Station on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft," Bolden writes. "By comparison, it will cost $58 million per seat to send our astronauts to the Space Station on Boeing's and SpaceX's spacecrafts, once they are certified."
The double whammy here, of course, is that in addition to NASA needing to spend its money in unsustainable ways, the agency is famously underfunded. According to
reports in 2011
Bolden evokes recent NASA home runs, like Curiosity and New Horizons , to remind Congress what the space agency is capable of. When you consider NASA's influence and success, Bolden says, the least the US can do is send its own people to space.
Read the full letter here .
[ Wired ]
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