Obama views India’s moon mission as a challengeOctober 23rd, 2008 - 10:13 am ICT by IANS
Washington, Oct 23 (IANS) As the White House hailed India’s maiden moon mission as “encouraging” and “exciting”, Democratic presidential hopeful, Barack Obama saw it as a reminder to revitalise the US space programme and not let other countries surpass it.”I haven’t spoken to the President (George Bush) about it. I saw that story, it was very interesting,” White House spokesperson Dana Perino said Wednesday. “We noted it’s very encouraging for India, I’m sure, very exciting.”
However, Obama viewed Wednesday’s historic launch of India’s moon mission Chandrayaan I from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh as a challenge.
“With India’s launch of its first unmanned lunar spacecraft following closely on the heels of China’s first spacewalk, we are reminded just how urgently the United States must revitalise its space programme if we are to remain the undisputed leader in space, science, and technology,” he said.
Obama said his comprehensive plan to revitalise the US “space programme and close the gap between the Space Shuttle’s retirement and its next-generation replacement includes $2 billion more for NASA - but more money alone is not enough.”
“We must not only retain our space workforce so that we don’t let other countries surpass our technical capabilities; we must train new scientists and engineers for the next generation,” he said.
Obama said his “comprehensive space policy focuses on reaching new frontiers through human space exploration, tapping the ingenuity of our commercial space entrepreneurs, fostering a broad research agenda to break new ground on the world’s leading scientific discoveries, and engaging students through educational programmes that excite them about space and science.”
“As a child, I remember sitting on my grandfather’s shoulders and watching the Apollo astronauts return from a splashdown to Hickam Air Force Base, dreaming of where they had been,” he added.
“It inspired my imagination and gave me confidence in what we as Americans could achieve. It’s time for a space programme that inspires our children again,” said the Democratic nominee who is leading over his Republican rival John McCain in most opinion polls.
“As president, I will lead our space programme boldly into the 21st century - so when my daughters, and all our children, look up to the skies, they see Americans leading the way into the deepest reaches of our solar system,” Obama said.
The United States India Business Council (USIBC), representing 280 of the largest US companies investing in India, has also hailed India’s maiden moon mission with two US instruments on board as the beginning of long “relationship promoting the opening of the frontier of outer space.”
“This unique technology partnership in civil space exploration, which taps India’s highly skilled scientific expertise with American instrumentation furnished by Raytheon, beckons what we hope will be a long and mutually beneficial relationship promoting the opening of the frontier of outer space,” USIBC president Ron Somers said.