06 May 1998
CONTACT: Karen Rugg, 202-543-1900
(Washington, DC) -- May 6, 1998 -- Today, just before the start of a full House Science Committee hearing on the International Space Station (ISS), the National Space Society delivered a letter to President Clinton urging his Administration to step forward, establish a relationship with the new Russian cabinet and work with the U.S.'s international partners to resolve funding and construction schedule problems in the ISS program.
"The Clinton Administration won credit for bringing Russia into the ISS partnership back in 1993," said NSS Executive Director Pat Dasch. "Since then, it appears as if the Administration has been sitting on the sidelines while a series of problems -- some in NASA's control and many not -- have developed. It is now incumbent upon the White House to step onto the playing field and provide the necessary leadership to deal with Russian delays."
She adds, "NASA scientists and engineers are not the people to do this, only the Administration has the international diplomatic resources that can be brought to bear on the situation. Postponing the inevitable will increase costs to America's taxpayers, weaken our nation's space program and sully our relationships with the international partners."
The International Space Station is necessary to learn how to keep astronauts healthy in space over long periods of time. The station will facilitate the commercial development of low Earth orbit and pave the way for human exploration of other worlds. Research aboard the station holds the promise of improving life on Earth in different ways -- from increasing the production of scarce drugs from plants and microorganisms, to improving fuel efficiency, and creating new and better materials. The National Space Society, founded in 1974, is an independent, nonprofit space advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. Its 23,000 members and 90 chapters around the world actively promote a spacefaring civilization.