Space milestone sparks high praise

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden phones space station crew members Don Pettit, Joe Acaba and Andre Kuipers to congratulate them for capturing the Dragon. “You made history today,” Bolden said.

Today’s first post-shuttle visit to the International Space Station by a U.S.-made spaceship won high-level praise from the White House, NASA Headquarters, Congress and other circles. Here’s a sampling of the reaction:

White House science adviser John Holdren:

“For the first time, a private American company has successfully launched a spacecraft into orbit and berthed it with the International Space Station — an achievement of historic scientific and technological significance and a key milepost in President Obama’s vision for America’s continued leadership in space. 

“That is exactly what the president had in mind when he laid out a fresh course for NASA to explore new scientific frontiers and take Americans ever deeper into our solar system whilerelying on private-sector innovators — working in the competitive free market — to ferry astronauts and cargo to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station. It’s essential we maintain such competition and fully support this burgeoning and capable industry to get U.S. astronauts back on American launch vehicles as soon as possible.

“I could not be prouder of our scientists and engineers — both government and private sector employees—who have contributed to this historic mission.   A passion for discovery and a sense for adventure have always driven this nation forward, and I join all Americans in watching what future possibilities are enabled by today’s great achievement.”


NASA Administrator Charles Bolden:

 

“Today marks another critical step in the future of American spaceflight. Now that a U.S. company has proven its ability to resupply the space station, it opens a new frontier for commercial opportunities in space — and new job creation opportunities right here in the U.S. By handing off space station transportation to the private sector, NASA is freed up to carry out the really hard work of sending astronauts farther into the solar system than ever before. The Obama administration has set us on an ambitious path forward and the NASA and SpaceX teams are proving they are up to the task.” 

Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin (quoted in White House reaction roundup):

“This week’s successful launch and delivery of logistics supplies to the International Space Station by a U.S. commercial space company reminds us that where the entrepreneurial interests of the private sector are aligned with NASA’s mission to explore, America wins.  Falcon 9’s maiden flight to ISS — and the other commercial space launches that lie ahead — represent the dawn of a new era in space exploration.  Nearly 43 years after we first walked on the moon, we have taken another step in demonstrating continued American leadership in space.”

U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, ranking member of House Committee on Science, Space and Technology (quoted in a reaction roundup from House Democrats):

“If the promise of the International Space Station is to be achieved, it is essential that a reliable and cost-effective means to transport cargo to the ISS be available. Today’s successful berthing of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule to the ISS is an important step on the path to demonstrating operational commercial cargo transport support for the ISS. I want to congratulate NASA and SpaceX and their dedicated and talented employees on this significant accomplishment. I wish SpaceX and NASA continued success with this cargo demonstration flight and look forward to the successful return of the unmanned Dragon capsule.  I also look forward to Orbital’s own upcoming demonstration flight.”

Michael Lopez-Alegria, president, Commercial Spaceflight Federation:

“Tomorrow the six astronauts currently aboard the International Space Station will open the hatches to the first visiting vehicle from a private company. Future commercial cargo deliveries under NASA’s COTS and CRS programs will ensure that the ISS continues to be a resource for America and its international partners.

“This is truly a momentous accomplishment for SpaceX and for the industry. The capabilities of the commercial space industry grow by the day, and America is well on its way to having a diverse, cost-effective and dependable space transportation system. The entire team at SpaceX should be commended for their commitment and skill, and thanked for their contribution to restoring U.S. access to the space station.

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