The National Space Society vision is people living and working in space

28 January 1998

NEWS RELEASE:
NATIONAL SPACE SOCIETY SAYS PRESIDENT'S WORDS PORTEND CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW SPACE PROJECT -- A GLASS CEILING AT LOW-EARTH-ORBIT (LEO)

CONTACT: Karen Rugg, 202-543-1900

(Washington, DC) -- January 28, 1998 -- The National Space Society today issued the following reaction to comments made by President Clinton during last night's State of the Union address.

"We join the President in applauding John Glenn's opportunity to travel a second time to space. We also look forward to tomorrow's signing of a landmark international agreement which signals this year's official start of construction on the international Space Station.

But what the President's address, our current National Space Policy, and NASA's most recent long-term strategic plan fail to provide is any vision for our nation in space beyond the year 2002 and completion of Space Station -- a mere four to five years away. We are, in fact, building a glass ceiling in space.

The flight of Senator Glenn and the possible flight of Barbara Morgan will only advance the question of 'where next?'. Our nation needs a mandate that justifies the investments being made in Space Station, whose purpose is to test the effects of long duration spaceflight on humans, and in technologies to lower the cost of access to space. A mandate that sets the next destination for humans -- the moon? Mars? Both?

We urge the White House to take one vital step now by pledging to help NASA deal with current and future cost overruns on the Space Station. In the past, the White House has not requested any official funds for NASA, leaving the agency to absorb overruns, and raid other critical research and development programs to pay for them. It has been suggested that an additional $200 million should be made available in the supplemental budget, which the National Space Society fully endorses.

Providing Congress and NASA with a means to look beyond the glass ceiling of LEO is the best 'gift for the 21st century' that the White House can give."

The National Space Society is an independent, nonprofit space advocacy organization with headquarters in Washington, DC. Its 25,000 members and 95 chapters around the world actively promote a spacefaring civilization. For more information on the NSS and our future in space, visit http://www.nss.org/.


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