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