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Shuttle News

Kerry Campaign Representative Spreading False Shuttle Rumors

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
October 21, 2004

Editor’s note: Stories continue to circulate around Washington that NASA is planning to limit the number of remaining space shuttle flights to 10 and that it is considering even further cuts to the Shuttle program. The stories can be traced back to representatives of the Kerry campaign – the most notable being Lori Garver from DFI International. Garver is going around town telling people that she has spoken with people inside OMB and NASA and that there is a plan under development by the Bush Administration to limit shuttle flights.

There is one problem with Garver’s story: it is not true.

Such a truncation of the shuttle program would amount to a de facto slow-motion abandonment of the ISS program by NASA since ISS assembly and resupply would simply not be possible along existing program lines to which the U.S. has pledged it support.

In his 14 January 2004 speech, President Bush spoke of retiring the shuttle fleet by 2010. In the ensuing months the problems surrounding return to flight, hurricanes, and other programmatic factors have led to an increase in the number of shuttle flights anticipated and some slackening of the 2010 date. It now appears that as many as 30 flights may be needed and that these flights may continue several years beyond 2010.

In addition, contrary to the rumors that can be traced back to Lori Garver, a document is due to be released within a week or so which was presented at the recent Heads of Agency meeting. This document will, among other things, specify the flights the U.S. is going to undertake so as to complete the assembly of the ISS and continue supporting it per previous international agreements. There are far more than Garver’s supposed 10 flights in this document.

What is troubling about Ms. Garver’s behavior is that she is circulating information that is untrue – and she has been told as much. Is this what we can expect from NASA in a Kerry Administration? Scary thought.

The best thing Lori Garver could do right now for space exploration would be to sit down and shut up.

29 October 2004: NASA Provides Shuttle, ISS Update

“No one at NASA said that there was a specific plan in place to dramatically reduce the number of shuttle flights as has been suggested by some in the Kerry campaign. Many options are being studied. Indeed, some options under study look at the possibility of more than 28 flights – perhaps beyond 2010.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.