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Why Have All The Candidates Forgotten About America's Dying Space Program?

by David Yee, published

It's interesting that several during the Republican debate invoked President Kennedy's lofty goal of putting a man on the Moon in 10 years as an example of America's greatness -- when we can't even put a man into space right now.

Since the close of the space shuttle program in July 2011, America has relied on the Russian Space Agency for transporting people to the International Space Station and the Russians and private contractors to launch resupply missions.

Privatization of American space flight is not working. The failure of the June 8 SpaceX launch highlights this. The American taxpayers lost $110 million in addition to still having to pay SpaceX 80 percent of its launch fees.

This is not capitalism in action. This is corporate welfare when our government is paying for failures and nonperformance.

Considering the dire cost to national security and the costs to the American taxpayer, why aren't more candidates taking an issue with America's lagging space program?

Except for

Rand Paul, who states that he would cut NASA's budget another 25 percent, the Republicans "appear" to be pro-space, but none have a real agenda for making America space independent again.

Jeb Bush proclaims himself to be a "space guy," but has no other plan but to throw additional tax dollars at an already defunct system.

Democrats are even worse, with Bernie Sanders having a long track record of voting against space appropriations. Hillary Clinton does not have a solid position for 2016, but her 2008 message was full of vagueness and failed to emphasize of how important this issue really is.

This is one of our greatest moments of weakness before our political and economic enemies. Meanwhile, North Korea, India, China, Iran, South Korea, and Japan have made leaps and bounds in their own space ambitions.

China has joined the manned launch "club" of Russia and America, while the others have cashed in on the lucrative business of launching satellites into orbit.

While candidates, such as Carly Fiorina, suggested during the debate that our Navy needs to grow to at least 350 ships and rebuilding the 6th Fleet as a message to Russia, perhaps a better message would be not having to pathetically "need" the Russians' help to get our astronauts into space and back.

Regardless of international treaties, space will be one of our next big battlegrounds. Our military is reliant on our GPS network for precision attacks, and our potential enemies know it.

China already has and acknowledges satellite killing technology, a parity creating weapon in case of a large-scale regional or international conflict.

Other nations are either secretly or openly developing the same types of technology.

It's time we refocus on space, because our ability to win on the ground and seas is completely dependent on our ability to protect and replace our assets in space.

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