CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The first American to ride a spacecraft into orbit -- former Sen. John Glenn -- hopes to launch Hillary into the White House with his endorsement in Ohio today. NASA's Glenn Research Center near Cleveland is a massive lab that pumps about $1.1 billion into the state's economy each year. It accounts for 7,360 jobs. John Glenn's new role in the Democratic presidential race is bound to highlight the space policies of Clinton and Barack Obama -- policies that could loom more important as the March 4 primaries draw near. Ohio is the birthplace of aviation and has a huge economic stake in the industry; Texas, which votes the same day, has Houston and NASA's Johnson Spaceflight Center where the astronaut corps is based.
Both Hillary and Obama have issued position papers expressing support for manned space flight and next generation vehicles that will replace the 1970's technology space shuttle fleet by the end of this decade. Both favor staffing and flying the International Space Station. Their words indicate they want Americans to return to the moon -- where Ohioan Neil Armstrong was the first human visitor in 1969 -- and eventually explore further into cosmos. Hillary, perhaps, has more enthusiasm. Obama says:
"The retirement of the space shuttle in 2010 will leave the United States without manned spaceflight capability until the introduction of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) carried by the Ares I Launch Vehicle. As president, Obama will support the development of this vital new platform to ensure that the United States' reliance on foreign space capabilities is limited to the minimum possible time period. The CEV will be the backbone of future missions, and is being designed with technology that is already proven and reliable. The International Space Station is an example of what we can accomplish through international cooperation. Barack Obama is committed to the completion of the International Space Station."
"Hillary is committed to a space exploration program that involves robust human spaceflight to complete the space station and later human missions, expanded robotic spaceflight probes of our solar system leading to future exploration, and enhanced space science activities. She will speed development, testing, and deployment of next-generation launch and crew exploration vehicles to replace the aging space shuttle. And in pursuing next-generation programs, Hillary will capitalize on the expertise of the current shuttle workforce and will not allow a repeat of the 'brain drain' that occurrred between the Apollo and shuttle missions."
Popular Mechanics has looked into the space policies of all the presidential candidates, GOP and Democratic, and found that
the Republicans haven't said much, if anything, on the topic. The Democrats appear to own this issue, and probably have ever since John Kennedy pledged the USA would put a man on the moon.