Huntsville, AL (Vocus) April 15, 2010
Homer Hickam, the outspoken best-selling author of My Dream of Stars, Rocket Boys and Back to the Moon has written to his former NASA co-workers, condemning the White House plan to shutter The Constellation program. Hickam has been joined by the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong, Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell and countless others in calling the Constellation program cancellation “devastating”.
In his strongly worded open letter, Hickam writes “It appears that the Obama Administration simply is not going to listen to anyone and is going to proceed on its plans to shut down NASA's human spaceflight program.”
As President Obama will be making a quick touchdown at Kennedy Space Center to announce this plan on Thursday, the White House finds itself under attack by many current and former NASA employees and others familiar with the space program. The president is also being criticized for cutting his “Space Summit” short to attend a $30,000 a plate fundraiser at singer Gloria Estefan’s Miami mansion.
Hickam tells NASA astronauts, “Make no mistake. The Obama plan means no more of you are going to fly into space except for maybe a few every year (for a little while) as passengers with the Russians. For those few of you who get to play spam in the can, we taxpayers get to pay through the nose to the tune of fifty million dollars for each seat you occupy. “
Former Apollo commanders Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell and Eugene Cernan called "devastating" the president's cancellation of the "Constellation" program, which they describe as a blueprint to "meet our existing commitments, return to our exploration roots, return to the moon, and prepare to venture further outward to the asteroids and to Mars."
Hickam says that he sees only one strategy to stop the White House plan. “The only way to head all this nonsense off, in my opinion, is for at least one current NASA astronaut to stand up and announce they have had it and aren't going to take it anymore. What do you think Admiral Alan Shepard would have done if the administration said it was going to shut down the space program? Shepard would have announced to the world he was no longer going to be a part of a hollow program and was going back to flying jets for the U.S. Navy. Just about every astronaut of the old breed would have done the same.”
Homer Hickam’s new book is My Dream of Stars, the dare-to-dream story of Anousheh Ansari, the Iranian-American woman who fought her way into space.
For a reviewer copy of My Dream of Stars, contact Burke Allen at Allen Media Strategies at (703) 589-8960 or burke (at) allenmediastrategies (dot) com.