Buzz Aldrin made this statement on April 14.
As an Apollo astronaut, I know full well the importance of always exploring new frontiers and tackling new challenges as we explore space. The simple truth is that we have already been to the Moon – some 40 years ago. What this nation needs in order to maintain its position as the 21st century leader in space exploration is a near-term focus on lowering the cost of access to space and on developing key, cutting-edge technologies that will take us further and faster – while expanding our opportunities for exploration along the way. The President’s program will help us be in this endeavor for the long haul and will allow us to again push our boundaries to achieve new and challenging things beyond Earth. I believe that this is the right program at the right time, and I hope that NASA and our dedicated space community will embrace this new direction as much as I do. By so doing we can together continue to use space exploration to help drive prosperity and innovation right here on Earth.
I also believe the steps we will be taking in following the President’s direction will best position NASA and other space agencies to ultimately send humans to Mars and other exciting destinations as quickly as possible. To do that, we will need to support many types of transformative technologies that NASA and its partners will be developing in order to reduce the costs, expand the capabilities, and increase the options for exploration. The quick decision promised on a heavy lift architecture – one that can leverage the knowledge gained through our propulsion and flagship R&D efforts – is a key part of this new plan and one that will help us achieve these ambitions in an expeditious yet still careful way. I also believe that the decision to pursue a crew escape capsule for the Space Station (in a way that takes advantage of work already performed on Orion) is a laudable step that will both make prudent use of our hard-earned expertise and provide a U.S. capability for meeting this important safety requirement.
Finally, I continue to be excited about the development of commercial capabilities to send humans into low earth orbit and what this could ultimately mean in terms of allowing others to experience the transformative power of spaceflight. I can personally attest to what such an experience can do in creating a different perspective regarding our life on Earth and on our future. I applaud the President for his boldness and commitment in working to make this worthwhile dream a reality.
April 14, 2010