"I write this letter, as an Apollo astronaut, to state my strong support for the proposed NASA space program as modified by President Obama in his April 15, 2010 speech in Florida. I, like many of my fellow astronauts, am greatly concerned that our nation's historic leadership in space exploration is eroding to the point where we will shortly lose that title. We Apollo-era people gave the United States everything we had to regain leadership in space from the Soviet Union back in the 60s and we hate like hell to see it drift away from us now.
With what I believe to be the coming loss of US leadership in human space exploration in mind, the question of how best to regain that leadership breaks into two fundamental elements; our current situation and our direction going forward. In terms of relative importance I weigh these at 80% and 20% respectively.
Our current situation is akin to being on a dead end road. Instead of being on a path toward the goal we all seek, i.e. to regain our leadership position in human space exploration, we must recognize that we are (and have been) on a path to nowhere. We are confronted with arguments to ignore the clear signs of this sad situation and even encouraged to accelerate along this futile path.
The alternative to this is support for the President's proposed plan. It recognizes and eliminates the waste of precious resources in the current program and heads us in a productive direction toward our desired destination. In other words, when you recognize you are on a dead end road, stop, turn around, and head in a direction more useful to your goal."