Bush administration: return to space

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Two news stories posted during the first week of December 2003 announced that President George W. Bush was expected to announce that the United States would soon return to space.

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First Report

The first report, Milky Way Days, was on December 3, 2003, by National Review's Dennis E. Powell:

"When President Bush delivers a speech recognizing the centenary of heavier-than-air-powered flight December 17, [2003] it is expected that he will proffer a bold vision of renewed space flight, with at its center a return to the moon, perhaps even establishment of a permanent presence there.
"The content of the speech does not appear to be in doubt; the only question is timing. While those who have formulated it have argued that it be delivered on the anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first powered flight, there exists a slight possibility that it will instead be incorporated in the State of the Union address at the end of January. This has its own, less triumphant, significance, which is in the form of a chilling coincidence. Every American who has died in a spacecraft has done so within one calendar week: The Apollo 204 fire on January 27, 1967; the Challenger disaster on January 28, 1986; and the loss of Columbia on February 1, 2003."

Second Report

The second, Back to the Moon written by Brian Blomquist, was published the following day in the New York Post:

"The return to the moon would be for the purpose of technological advancements in technology, including energy exploration and testing a military rocket engine. ...
"And a permanent presence likely will include robots and communication satellites. ...
"But beyond the nuts and bolts, Bush's call for a to return to space would give Americans something new to hope for - amid a period of permanent anxiety about terrorism. It would also help move NASA beyond last February's space shuttle Columbia disaster. ...
"Sources said the president may also give the go-ahead to pursue a manned trip to Mars - a long range goal."

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External links

  • 3 December 2003: "Milky Way Days" by Dennis E. Powell, National Review.
  • 4 December 2003: "Back to the Moon" by Brian Blomquist, New York Post.
  • 5 December 2003: "Visionaries Hope NASA Charts Bold Course" by Marcia Dunn, AP: "Whether the destination is the moon or Mars -- or whether any plan actually makes liftoff -- remains to be seen. For space buffs, just to get a defined mission would be cause for hope."
  • 5 December 2003: "Return to Moon May Be on Agenda", Washington Post: "President Bush's aides are considering a new lunar exploration program and other unifying national goals, including a campaign to promote longevity or fight childhood illness or hunger, as they sift ideas for a fresh agenda for the final year of his term, administration officials said yesterday."
  • 5 December 2003: "U.S. considers new moon mission" by Traci Watson, Dan Vergano and Rick Hampson, USA Today.
  • 5 December 2003: "Fly Me to L 1" by Buzz Aldrin, New York Times Op-Ed: "...I think the next step in our space program should be to create a floating launching pad for manned and unmanned missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond."
  • 7 December 2003: "Bush Looking at 'Bold Agenda' Space Effort," Reuters.
  • 9 January 2004: "Moon fever grips US Space Agency", BBC/UK: "Nasa chief spokesman Glenn Mahone said the agency was 'excited' about the news and its implications. ... But some critics of the plan have objected to the high costs involved. ... Mr Bush will announce the proposals next week, which will include plans for the construction of a permanent lunar space station."
  • 16 January 2004: "NASA Creating Office for Missions to the Moon and Beyond" by Kenneth Chang, New York Times.
  • 16 January 2004: "Mission a Trojan Horse?" by Suneel Ratan, World News.
  • 18 January 2004: "Investing in the Future, and Mortgaging It" by Edmund L. Andrews, New York Times.
  • 22 January 2004: "Bush's plans for space finding few boosters. Costly proposal faces rebuff from GOP, Democrats" by Zachary Coile, San Francisco Chronicle.
  • 16 February 2004: "Aiming for Mars, grounded on Earth: part one. The failure of efforts to return to the Moon and send humans to Mars" by Dwayne A. Day, The Space Review.