“We should once again lead the way for the world in space exploration,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said during his announcement of being named chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science, Space, and Competitiveness. This committee has direct oversight of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
“In 1962, President John F. Kennedy laid down a marker for space exploration that inspired a generation of Americans to reach for the stars, recognizing that the race to the heavens was nothing less than a crucial front in the battle between freedom and tyranny,” Sen. Cruz said in a press statement obtained by Breitbart Texas.
“More than 50 years later, we have lost sight of that clarion call,” Cruz explained. “Russia’s status as the current gatekeeper of the International Space Station could threaten our capability to explore and learn, stunting our capacity to reach new heights and share innovations with free people everywhere.”
“The United States should work alongside our international partners, but not be dependent on them,” he stated.
President Obama has made major cuts to NASA and shifted its focus from space exploration to political agendas like global warming and the role of Islam in mathematics. The President lost a lot of support from liberals in Texas when, in 2011 he announced Houston would not be receiving one of the retiring space shuttles despite its history in manned spaceflight. And, in 2012, The normally left-of-center Houston Chronicle went so far as to endorse Obama’s opponent for re-election in the 2012 general election, former MA Governor Mitt Romney.
The appointment of the potential 2016 presidential candidate to this committee could bode well for the Senator who would benefit from the support of the thousands of NASA employees and employees of NASA contractors.
News of the Texas Senator’s appointment spread quickly throughout the American space community. “I’m pleased to hear that Senator Cruz will be chairing the important Subcommittee on Science and Space,” said former Astronaut and Apollo 7 pilot Walter Cunningham. “In our discussions he has always a shown a strong interest in furthering the core goals of NASA and Johnson Space Center. He wants NASA to return to the scientific and exploration standards that enabled our country to win the space race.”
Houston’s business community was also quick to react. “Houston is pleased to have a Texan lead the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science, Space, and Competitiveness,” said Bob Harvey, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “NASA and the Johnson Space Center are a vital part of the Houston regional economy as they continue to press ahead with their next generation exploration mission. Through his new chairmanship and work as ranking member of the committee for the last two years, Sen. Cruz understands the issues and is well positioned to support NASA by fighting for the funding the agency needs and working to maintain the United States’ legacy in space.”
Jean Marie Kranz is President of K6 Strategies and a former senior advisor for space to Congressman Pete Olson, (R-TX). She is also the daughter of NASA legend, former Apollo 13 Flight Director Gene Kranz. “I think it’s terrific to have Sen. Ted Cruz leading as Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Science and Space,” Kranz stated. “Over the past six years, our nation’s human space flight programs, including commercial space, have taken a hit under the Obama Administration.”
“Particularly, this Administration has placed too much focus on issues unrelated to NASA’s core mission and has failed to set achievable goals in the near-term to further our nation’s space capabilities — instead relying on hypothetical, amorphous missions decades or more in the future,” she explained. “We need committee leadership that is innovative, fearless and most critically, independent from the Administration’s agenda. Not to mention one that will protect NASA’s Johnson Space Center from partisan politics. NASA must remain true to its bipartisan legacy and outline a realistic space strategy that is attainable in years, not decades.”
“Texas has a major stake in space exploration,” Sen. Cruz continued. “Our space program marks the frontier of future technologies for defense, communications, transportation and more, and our mindset should be focused on NASA’s primary mission: exploring space and developing the wealth of new technologies that stem from its exploration.”
“And commercial space exploration presents important new opportunities for us all,” the Senator concluded. “We must refocus our investment on the hard sciences, on getting men and women into space, on exploring low-Earth orbit and beyond, and not on political distractions that are extraneous to NASA’s mandate. I am excited to raise these issues in our subcommittee and look forward to producing legislation that confirms our shared commitment to this vital mission.”
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.