Obama Highlights U.S. Space Achievements Ahead of Florida Visit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- President Barack Obama's re-election campaign is touting America's accomplishments made in space exploration since the President took office just ahead of his visit on Sunday to Florida's Space Coast.

"I am 100 percent committed to the mission of NASA and its future. Because broadening our capabilities in space will continue to serve our society in ways that we can scarcely imagine," President Obama said in a campaign press release.  "Because exploration will once more inspire wonder in a new generation sparking passions and launching careers. And because, ultimately, if we fail to press forward in the pursuit of discovery, we are ceding our future and we are ceding that essential element of the American character."

His campaign said that "President Obama has pursued an ambitious new direction for NASA, laying the groundwork for a sustainable program of exploration and innovation.  He has extended the life of the International Space Station, forwarded efforts to foster international cooperation in space, supported the growth of America’s commercial space industry, and invested in taking on our pressing scientific challenges while continuing the nation’s commitment to robust human space exploration, science, and aeronautics programs."

The Obama campaign lists the following highlights of the U.S. space program made under an Obama administration:

Extended the Life of Existing Space Efforts:
In his first term, President Obama built on existing NASA programs and projects, continuing our efforts at unmanned exploration, extending the life of the Space Shuttle by two flights, and continuing and expanding the basic scientific research occurring at the International Space Station.

Continued Investments In Deep Space Exploration: This August, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history. The successful landing of Curiosity – the most sophisticated roving laboratory ever to land on another planet – marks an unprecedented feat of technology and exploration that will stand as a point of national pride far into the future. The successful landing both indicates America’s continued preeminence in space, and reminds us of the need to continue the innovation, technology, and basic research investments that have always made our economy the envy of the world.

Added Additional Space Shuttle Flights: Shortly after taking office, President Obama sought to delay the end of NASA’s shuttle program, requested funds for the AMS mission, STS-134, in his fiscal year 2010 NASA budget.  In addition, President Obama signed the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, a law that funded an additional space shuttle flight, STS-135, for 2011.

Extended ISS beyond 2016 And Work with international allies on ISS: Following the recommendations of the blue-ribbon Augustine Committee, President Obama extended the life of the International Space Station (ISS) until at least 2020 through the NASA Authorization Act of 2010.  Extending the ISS enables it to continue serving as a framework for international collaboration and enables the U.S. to maintain its ability to lead future international space flight partnerships.

Continued The International Space Station Role In Fundamental Biological And Physical Research: Under President Obama’s administration, NASA has continued ongoing biological and physical research experiments and has added many more.

Supported Growth Of Commercial Spaceflight: President Obama’s first term accomplishments demonstrate his support for growing America’s commercial space industry while increasing partnerships that unleash private sector innovation in space-borne scientific research.

Engaged The Private Sector To Improve Spaceflight: In his first year in office, President Obama’s Recovery Act provided key funding to spur private sector development and demonstration of safe, reliable, and cost effective space transportation vehicles capable of delivering cargo—and eventually crew—to Low-Earth Orbit and the International Space Station.  NASA followed this investment with continued efforts through the Agency’s Commercial Crew Development Program.  This May, one of the program participants, SpaceX, successfully launched the first privately owned, all-American space launch vehicle to the International Space Station.

Supported Commercial Access To Space: In the first year of his term, President Obama invited government and private entities, including commercial firms, non-profit entities, and academic institutions, to propose projects in basic and applied research and technology development that could be performed on the International Space Station.

Increased Commercialization Benefits From Space Technology: President Obama increased funding for NASA’s partnerships with industry, academic institutions, government agencies, and national laboratories to promote technology investments, as well as its efforts to promote early stage technology development by small businesses for NASA use.

Continued Investments in Science: President Obama has continued and further developed NASA’s position as a key investor in science. Under President Obama’s leadership, we have dramatically improved our resources to research climate change, and supported NOAA in its efforts to enhance its Earth mapping resources.

Worked Toward Deploying A Global Climate Change Research And Monitoring System: President Obama’s Recovery Act funded new investments in Earth observation and climate science programs, including funds to build and repair National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facilities, ships, and equipment. These investments help address critical gaps in climate modeling and climate data records, allowing continued more accurate research into the causes and effects of climate changes, and assisting research on ways to mitigate climate change. 

Improved Climate Change Data Records: President Obama’s Recovery Act provided the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with funds to launch a Satellite Climate Data Record Program aimed at developing and implementing a robust, sustainable and scientifically defensible approach to producing and preserving climate records from satellite data.

Enhanced Earth Mapping Capacity: Under President Obama, NASA has supported the development of Landsat Data Continuity Mission, a program developing next-generation satellites that will aid numerous government agencies by providing key data for climate research, natural resources management, land development, public safety, homeland security, and disaster recovery.  Under President Obama, the program has seen sufficient investment to progress to its final stages, and launches of new satellites are slated for next year. 

Built Support for Next Generation of Spaceflight: From investments in research on advances in spaceflight technology to expanding our commitment to an education system that prepares our students for space and science achievements, President Obama has invested in strengthening the base for America’s next generation of spaceflight.

Increase Spending to Prepare for Longer Space Missions: President Obama’s most recent budget request proposes to raise the budget for NASA’s exploration directorate to $3.9 billion for FY 2013, an increase of more than $200 million dollars over FY 2012 exploration expenditures. These budget investments fund forwardlooking development of systems and capabilities required for human exploration of space beyond low Earth orbit, to asteroids, Mars, and other deep space destinations.  Programs funded under this budget include the Orion MPCV Space Capsule – the passenger module for NASA’s next generation space exploration rocket system. 

Conduct Robust Research And Development On Future Space Missions: As President, Barack Obama has consistently sought increased support for Research and Development to forward NASA’s Space Exploration mission. His 2013 budget request increased support for R&D by 11% over his 2012 levels. The increases support efforts at expanding permanent human presence beyond low Earth orbit to destinations such as near Earth asteroids, the Moon, and Mars, while maintaining U.S. human space flight capability in low Earth orbit. The administration is on track to spend almost 9% of its space exploration budget on the research and design projects necessary to make our future exploration projects fruitful.

Supporting Development Of The Next-Generation Space Vehicle: Upon taking office, President Obama convened an independent commission to review the nation’s plans and programs for human spaceflight. The committee found that the Constellation program that was slated to be the successor manned spaceflight system to the Space Shuttle, would not produce its planned space vehicles in a timely way, and its development could force cuts to the International Space Station and other critical programs, Under President Obama, NASA is developing a new vehicle, the Space Launch System, which will serve as the backbone of its human space exploration program in the post-Shuttle era. Support for the Space Launch System by 1.5% in President Obama’s latest budget request, and the system continues its steady progress – in July, SLS completed its preliminary review, allowing the program to continue ahead to its preliminary design phase.

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