Monday, March 15, 2010

BAND Agrees to Updated NASA Resolution

At the March BAND meeting, members voted to recommend the following resolution for passage at the upcoming Senate District 11 convention.

WHEREAS President Obama submitted a significant budget increase for NASA and proposed canceling the inadequately funded Constellation Program to return humans to the moon in NASA’s 2011 budget proposal;

WHEREAS President Obama has taken considerable criticism for setting out a plan to make great leaps in exploration beyond Earth orbit by taking intelligent, practical steps to adjust exploration plans to Constellation’s underfunding and economic issues facing NASA when he was inaugurated;

WHEREAS Obama’s budget takes into account the Augustine panel’s recommendations and begins rebuilding the agency with a significant increase of about $1 billion per year to .6 percent of the federal budget;

WHEREAS the Obama proposal will extend the life of the space station to at least 2020 to increase scientific research and taxpayer benefits and enable an advanced approach for humans to explore Mars;

WHEREAS Obama’s 2011 budget proposal increases NASA’s budget by a billion dollars a year and steers the agency to a flexible approach for exploration that focuses on “game-changing” technologies, advanced science and commercial approaches for space operations that are becoming routine;

WHEREAS NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, a Houston/Clear Lake resident, is shifting focus from an old destination, the moon, forward to Mars, the ultimate destination, with an approach that is not an end of human space exploration leadership, but a new beginning recreating the innovative NASA culture of the Apollo era;

WHEREAS NASA today is quickly developing new plans in order to advance America’s leading role in human exploration of space rather than ending it in the turmoil of endless delays caused by inadequate budgets;

WHEREAS the Democratic Party through its congressional and executive branch leadership should support Obama’s flexible path by defining new exploration programs building on the initial work of the Constellation Program, including the Orion Program originally based in Houston, in order to integrate the best of government work with the best that U.S. commercial organizations offer;

WHEREAS significant additional funds are required for robust human exploration; in a non-partisan effort, both political parties in congress and the Obama Administration must undertake federal budget and tax policies to fund NASA at an adequate annual budget while maintaining other important federal government programs;

WHEREAS NASA’s continuance of shuttle missions at a reduced rate of two missions per year would bridge the gap designed into the agency’s space plans by the previous administration, so that the U.S. would not be solely reliant on Russia as the space access provider;

WHEREAS recertifying the shuttle for safe flight and restarting supply chains would not be constraints to additional shuttle missions, according to the shuttle program manager;

WHEREAS this integrated approach to advanced space exploration can ensure that the budget for Johnson Space Center will remain at about the same size - $6 billion per year - as a baseline for work accomplished through and in Houston, and can protect and advance our access to space and extend International Space Station operations, thereby protecting more than 18,000 direct and tens of thousands additional indirect jobs currently in the Houston area.;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Democratic Party recommends to Congress and President Obama new programs blending the best of past and current programs, and the Constellation Program with the best of commercial spaceflight, to advance human exploration and ensure NASA’s Johnson Space Center continues as the world’s “home of human space flight.” Ultimately the first spoken word from Mars will be that of an American calling to the home of human spaceflight - Houston - from the true frontier of space.

Submitted to and Adopted by the Senate District 11 Convention in Harris County, Texas, on March 20, 2010.

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