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American Space Exploration Leadership -- Why and How
Buzz Aldrin : Apollo 11 Moonwalker
As we flip the calendar to 2012, we get the first blast of space news, and the resurgent relevance of human space exploration. China just announced plans to lead humanity in to the moon and beyond, the tail of their comet a strong defense mindset. The Chinese challenge comes at a time of a dangerous convergence, the international debt crisis and a contentious, highly consequential presidential election. In short, 2012 is an inflection year -- the year we will and must decide whether the U.S. has the will and ability to lead the world in human space exploration. For me, I am betting we do -- and here is how I suggest we begin.
In 1969, Neil Armstrong and I walked on the moon. Shortly thereafter, I participated in work on the "next generation of space transportation systems." Without getting too technical, my strong tendency was to support a two-stage reusable launch system, with crew only in the second stage, allowing a first stage to return to Earth unmanned. This seemed both efficient and safer than the alternatives. I found myself on the minority side of the discussion, and relented. Over the past forty years, I have had multiple of occasions to regret that decision. We are now at another turning point -- and this time, we must resolve to do it right.
Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/buzz-aldrin/american-space-exploration_b_1184554.html?ref=science&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008
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