Congressman: White House Has ‘No Mission’ for Space Exploration

Rep. Pete Olson (R-Texas) criticized the Obama administration for lacking a human space exploration mission and cancelling the nation’s Constellation Program.

The primary goal of the program was to return astronauts to the moon by 2020.

“My main point is we have to have some sort of mission coming from the White House or coming from the people – the real space exploration mission, which is exploring the heavens and that’s what I’m fighting for,” he said after the Citizens for Space Exploration reception on Capitol Hill. “Right now we just have no mission. My personal opinion is go back to the moon because it’s great training for Mars.”

NASA has been paying Russia about $70 million per seat on Russian Soyuz capsules, which are reportedly the only flights available for astronauts to the International Space Station after the retirement of the U.S. space shuttle fleet in 2011.

“The problem is right now we don’t have a vehicle to stop that. The vehicle to prevent that or minimize that was Constellation, which the White House killed in 2010 with nothing to replace it,” said Olson, a member of the House Communications and Technology subcommittee.

“SpaceX has rockets go up there with cargo but no crew yet, so we’re stuck with hitching rides with the Russians, which was worked out but it’s kind of scary because like Ukraine, something that happens here on Earth, they take that to space and say, sorry guys, you can’t ride anymore. That space station that we built, 90 billion bucks of our money goes away,” he added.

Olson said the Obama administration does not see the “inspirational value” of human space flight.