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posted Feb 11, 2009, 7:14 AM by John Kavanagh   [ updated Feb 11, 2009, 7:51 AM ]
NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) is the single most important program that NASA has ever started to open up space for economic development beyond Communication Satellites and Remote Sensing. Unfortunately, one element of the program, COTS-D, has never been funded. This element would stimulate American firms to compete to fly astronauts to the International Space Station, instead of having to depend on Russian to do it for us - at great expense. Thus, as Senator Mikulski and Congressman Mollohan help reconcile the Senate and House Stimulus bills this week, I contacted them by e-mail and phone to draw their attention to the COTS program.

I'm frustrated to see NASA send hundreds of millions of dollars to
Russia to ferry American astronauts during the spaceflight gap between
the retirement of the Space Shuttle and the first flight of
Ares/Orion. It is of the utmost importance in today's recession for
that money to instead be spent on *American* solutions and ingenuity.

Please fully fund COTS-D for NASA Exploration so that American
industry and jobs, such as Orbital in Maryland and SpaceX in
California, can provide the spaceflight solution to carry American
astronauts to the International Space Station. Not only would this
generate new high-tech American jobs, but it should save taxpayer
money by flying more affordably than Russia currently charges NASA.

Thanks for your support for high-tech American careers and space exploration!