Political detours keep changing NASA’s route to the ‘final frontier’

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Opinion

May 7, 2019 - 10:23 AM

If space is the final frontier, this country is doing a poor job charting a course to the outer limits. This year America celebrates the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong taking the first step by a human on the moon, and no one knows when we will go back. Not to mention reach another planet.

The space agency’s mission was clear in 1961 when President John F. Kennedy boldly declared, “I believe we should go to the moon.” Kennedy’s goal was accomplished in less than 10 years. It’s a shame he didn’t live to see it. NASA has tried to stay on course despite three horrific tragedies since Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

Astronauts Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee were killed when the first Apollo capsule caught fire in 1967. In 1986, the shuttle Challenger blew up 73 seconds after takeoff, killing Dick Scobee, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Mike Smith, Ellison Onizuka, and school teacher Christa McAuliffe. Then in 2003, the shuttle Columbia disintegrated after re-entering the earth’s atmosphere, killing Rick Husband, William McCool, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, Laurel Clark, David Brown, and Ilan Ramon.

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