Rutan Finds NASA Of Today Dull... May 22, 2005 21:38:02 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on May 22, 2005 21:38:02 GMT -6
"We don't even have the courage to go back to the Hubble"...
Burt Rutan may be the creative impetus behind the world's first private manned spaceship sent to suborbital space but he wants to be seen simply as an American taxpayer; albeit one who is not excited about NASA's plans for space.
Rutan owns Scaled Composites, an aircraft design and construction firm in Mojave, Calif. Together with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, he built the experimental SpaceShipOne, which last year flew three suborbital slights with a company pilot aboard to win the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the first commercial spaceflight.
Speaking at the National Press Club Thursday, Rutan criticized the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for its technological complacency since its innovative Apollo years.
He blamed the intersection of government and technology for rendering the space juggernaut to simply act as a political tool. Though politics pushed a young President John F. Kennedy to prioritize science in a race for technological parity with the Russians, recent administrations have been less than supportive.
"You will never, ever get the vision and the courage out of the Congress," Rutan said. "And we haven't had the vision and the courage out of the president's office, really, since the John Kennedy announcement."
He abruptly stopped himself and said, "I'm not going to go there."
He said progress in spaceflight technology has stalled in the past 40 years. Failing to take risks, NASA scientists aren't exposing themselves "to the ability to have breakthroughs." Rutan specifically targeted the decision to discontinue service to the Hubble Space Telescope, which will stop working by 2008 without new batteries and gyroscopes, as indicative of NASA risk aversion.
"We don't even have the courage to go back to the Hubble," he said. "And the last time I looked, the Hubble telescope is between here and Mars."
More here on Space-travel.com: www.space-travel.com/news/spacetravel-05zj.html
Give 'em hell, Rutan!
NASA needs to wake up. I think the new guy Griffin can start us back on the right road.