Wednesday, October 7, 2009

To Infinity AND Beyond

First off...I want to thank all of you that have been praying and supporting my family during the uncertainty of the last few weeks.  As many of you know, being a stay at home mom is super stressful when you don't know if your husband will have a job.  Depending on that one income is tough and the thought of being without it is downright scary.  I feel so lucky and blessed that he has this job and that it's a good one because that is the only way I'm able to stay home with our kids.

Calvin wasn't always an engineer.  He trained to be one...at West Point graduating in the top 10% of his class.  While in college...he was the first student in his class to have a APPLE computer and he was a wiz with it, teaching himself programming and writing games and other things.  So it was no surprise when he left the Army that he would go into the computer field.  He worked as a Custom Computer Program Designer for 16 years until he was laid off a month before I gave birth to Alex.

I saw the ad for the job fair in the paper right after I learned that I was pregnant with Mallory.  We were getting desperate for a job...any job.  Calvin came home with a pile of info about this new opportunity and the man he spoke with had even given him a website for me to start looking for a home.  We were whisked away to Utah, we checked out the city looked at some homes and Calvin interviewed.  We held our breath hoping for an offer...a new start, in a new town with an exciting new job with the space program.

Calvin and I discovered that we had both had a fascination with space as children.  Calvin even has a carefully folded and protected diagram of the moon that he had gotten at Mc Donalds when he was a little boy.  The prospect of being involved in a project that was going to take people back to the Moon was so exciting!

During the 60's the United States was in a Space Race with Russia.  What an exciting time!  I wasn't yet born when Neil Armsrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon in 1969 but I can imagine how wonderful that must of been for 6 year old Calvin to watch on TV.

Since then the United States has been leading the world in Space Travel and Exploration and I have always been amazed by the journey of NASA and the Space Shuttle Program that was started in 1981.  I grew up watching the Shuttle launches and daydreaming about going to space someday.

Now it's time for a new direction in Space Exploration!  The Constellation program plans to develop spacecraft and booster vehicles that will replace the Space Shuttle and send astronauts to the Moon and eventually to Mars.  Ares 1 is for launching mission crews into orbit and Ares V will transport hardware.  Ares 1 will also be used to launch the Orion spacecraft that will be used for human spaceflight missions.

Right now the future of manned space flight is in danger. Costs are the big issue. The current space exploration program has been short changed by both the Bush and Obama administrations.  President Obama is currently looking at the possibility of canceling Ares 1 and starting over or trying to find a different alternative.  In the meantime, Russia, China and India are developing their own space programs.  It's important that we stay the course and that NASA be given the funding they need to continue with the project as planned.  Common sense tells me that changing directions now and taking a chance on another plan seems more costly and time consuming.

America's leadership in space is so important.  Our children being encouraged to study engineering and science is vital to our country staying ahead.  I was shocked to learn that less than one percent of the federal budget is devoted to exploration, science and new technologies.

Satellite communications, microwaves, cellular phones, miniaturized computers, pacemakers, kidney dialysis, scratch-resistant lenses, medical and sports technology, adjustable smoke detectors, cordless tools, and water filters are just a few examples of the advances that have occurred through NASA space research.

Don't let America fall behind because you didn't speak up.  Let President Barack Obama know that American's care about our security, our economic competitiveness and our space program.  Please join me in writing a letter to the president asking him to make NASA and Space a priority.

Please help me remind President Obama that on August 2, 2008 he talked about the importance of strengthening America's competitive edge by maintaining our leadership in Space.  At that time he pledged to give NASA the support it needed to reach ambitious goals and ensure that our Space program didn't suffer when the Shuttle goes out of service.

I'm asking President Obama to:
  • Match NASA's budget to its mission and goals by providing an additional $3 billion by 2014 and increase the budget annually using an inflation factor.  
  • Close the gap in the US ability to launch astronauts into space by extending the life of the Shuttle.
  • Develop and lead future international spaceflight partnerships by extending the life of the International Space Station.
  • Enable progress in Space Exploration by accelerating the development of a well designed and adequately funded heavy-lift space technology program.

Please help me (and the future of America) by writing and sending a letter today!

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500


18 comments:

  1. wow! that's intense! thanks for letting us know about all of this and encouraging to help out!!

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  2. How cool!! I bet Hannah can help me write a great letter!! ;-)

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  3. I'll start working on a letter.
    Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention. I had no idea that they were cutting money in this area too!

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  4. You have received an award. Hop on over to my blog and check it out!

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  5. Thank you so much for this post! I learned so much that I didn't know. I totally agree that we as a country NEED to and MUST stay on the cutting edge of space exploration. Our country's budget is divided in such a lopsided way. Count on me for support!

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  6. Im going to bring this up to my daughters class to see if they want to write some letters!

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  7. Thanks for giving us all of that information. I was basically unaware of these issues. I'm planning on taking this info to our next Scout meeting and having the boys draft a letter. (4th graders)

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  8. Beautifully written Connie. Hopefully your letter will be heard.

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  9. My hubs interned for NASA during his PhD, and I can tell you that it is really sad that most of the scientists are so busy running around writing grant proposals that we are losing our edge in this important area. Great letter and thoughts Connie, hopefully we can all make a difference.

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  10. I will write one Connie. I think it is a place that definitely deserve funding along with education. Good thoughts!

    XOXO
    jen

    PS - Isn't it nice to have a nerdy husband. I don't know what I would do without Jeff's computer support!

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  11. Good Morning,
    Awesome post. Glad to hear things are ok. Thought I would stop by and see ya while I am making my rounds of the blogs I am following this morning.
    Will stop back by again. Keep up the great posts.
    Sheri
    http://sherisstory.blogspot.com

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  12. Left you a tribute on my post today - re Mama Kat's writers' workshop :-)

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  13. Great post Connie! I love it when I learn something :) I'll see if I can get a letter written and actually in the mail. Enjoy your trip!

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  14. I know the fear of being a stay at home mom and wondering if your husband will have a job. We have been very lucky to dodge that bullet but it is always something we worry about.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I hope the letters help!

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  15. I don't like Neil "BigHead" Cavuto anyway, but he was a total A$$ to Buzz Aldrin today for the sake of "riling up the audience" making the recent moon mission into a joke by calling it "crashing a rocket" into the moon. As if that were a waste of money. Yeah, when you put it THAT way. And ignore the science behind it. Idiot.

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  16. Connie,
    How beautifully written... Living in central Florida, I know how scary it is for a lot of people waiting for the "other shoe to drop". While I have been praying for you, several of my neighbors have also been in fear of losing their jobs over at Kennedy Space Center. I, too believe that there needs to be money spent on the further of space exploration and the science behind it, along with money to encourage both boys AND girls to go into the scientific fields. I will write my letter, AND I will link your post to my blog, so that my readers who live in my area will get a new perspective on the cause.
    God bless your family and you!!

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  17. i love it when you write all smart and stuff. another reason you're a blog goddess

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  18. I'm right there with you!! My hubby worked on the shuttle program and on the unmanned missions at JPL, and we both really believe in these programs. I agree that we need to go forward with the Constellation Program. Thanks for sharing such important information with your readers!

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I love you. You are my best friend! Your hair looks fantastic today!