NASA – Abandoning International Space Station, May Affect Partnerships

March 24, 2011

It may seem unreal that the United States would abandon the International Space Station (ISS), especially when the program completed construction this past year; but with only five years left on the current NASA contract, it’s undetermined in the direction our country wants to go with space exploration.  The government needs to react by answering this important question, especially when it affects the longevity of our nation. Terminating the ISS program will affect our countries leadership ability and possibly ignite negative international perceptions.  This inevitability would demonstrate to other nations our lack of commitment to science and potentially leaves the United States as a bystander and miss out on great opportunities in the development of new research.

The Space Foundation in their article for the ISS, stress the importance of international partnerships by saying that nations has been given great opportunities to join one another in international affairs and doing so has created much success for everyone.  It’s important to realize that the ISS has and will continue to be the stepping stone for collaborations among nations.    The ultimate failure for the United States would to not renew its contract with the ISS for the sheer fact it would ruin international relations and will globally be seen as an unreliable partner.  This could mean that all future scientific studies and explorations the country must financially pay for without any help.  With our nation already in financial turmoil, this could severally alter government spending.

However, today President Obama was at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to help not only eliminate criticism he has been receiving towards the space program, but more importantly to calm and comfort NASA employees that may be out of a job when the shuttle program ends.  President Obama told NASA he was committed to their programs and capabilities.  He also made it clear that our nation has already been to the moon and we must look past that and realize there are bigger and better explorations to be had by our astronauts.

Finally, what seemed most intriguing, while understanding our government’s situation with the ISS; was looking at what bloggers and opinion based websites had to say about our countries current dilemma.  This particular website, called thepetitionstite.com, though relatively small still delivered a powerful concept.  Here it has its bloggers state their claim about saving the ISS and also encouraging them to spread the word to others, with aspirations of reaching one thousand signatures in their petition.  One particular message that Michael Hebert states in this petition is that, to de-orbit our space station just five years after complete is a poor decision and is a slap in the face to every American and international partner involved.  Our government needs to act now, because if not, time will soon be up.

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