29 January 1998
CONTACT: Karen Rugg, 202-543-1900
(Washington, DC) -- January 29, 1998 -- According to a release issued today by the office of U.S. Representative Dave Weldon (R-FL), NASA Administrator Dan Goldin has assured Weldon that earlier reports of halting agency spending on January 30 for projects uniquely focused on future manned missions to the Moon and Mars were inaccurate. Brian Chase, press secretary for Weldon, said that the representative questioned Goldin yesterday during a Florida visit after reading statements of concern from the National Space Society and articles in space trade press.
"I'm pleased that Administrator Goldin has reversed this decision," said Weldon. "It would be short-sighted to stop NASA's efforts to return to the Moon and eventually go to Mars. When most people think of exploring space, they think of people exploring space. Robotic probes are a vital exploration tool that will continue to play a major role in exploring space, but human exploration is the cornerstone of our space program. We would have lost a big part of what NASA is about if those studies had been terminated."
The National Space Society today stated appreciation for the representative's swift action, but joined him in acknowledging that official confirmation of the status of funding for beyond low-Earth-orbit human exploration projects will likely have to wait until the release of the Administration's final FY 1999 budget proposal early next week.
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/.