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27 October 1997

NEWS RELEASE:
National Space Society Statement On President Clinton's Line Item Veto Of Military Space Programs

CONTACT: Karen Rugg, 202-543-1900

Washington, DC -- The National Space Society today issued the following statement regarding the October 14 presidential line item veto of military space programs.

The National Space Society was disappointed to learn of President Clinton's recent line-item vetoes of several small military space programs.

The Clementine 2 asteroid intercept mission, as with Clementine 1, would have been the most cost-effective approach to combining important technology demonstrations with real scientific missions. Data on the mechanical strength of asteroid Toutatis would have provided vital input to the construction of weapons capable of deflecting asteroids or comets on a collision course with Earth. The threat of worldwide devastation from this kind of impact should very much be a Department of Defense (DoD) concern.

The line-item veto also cancelled funding for the military space plane. While the National Space Society cannot address the merits of any missions for which the space plane might have been used, we do recognize the ability of the DoD's project to address a specific combination of needs related to lowering the cost to access space. Even though NASA is developing space plane-related technology, this combination -- global range, extremely fast response, very low cost per flight, and small support and ops crews -- cannot be addressed by current NASA, commercial technology or development programs.

The National Space Society encourages the Congress, the Administration and the DoD to re-examine the status of these vetoed programs, in particular Clementine 2, in order to identify options to reinstate funding."

The National Space Society is an independent, nonprofit space advocacy organization with headquarters in Washington, DC. Its 25,000 members and 95 chapters around the world actively promote a spacefaring civilization. For more information on the NSS and our future in space, visit http://www.nss.org/.

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