Two well-known space pioneers on Sunday endorsed Senator Barack Obama's space program, which calls for lengthening the life of the Space Shuttle so that the U.S. is not without its own ride to the International Space Station.
Former Ohio Senator John Glenn and current U.S. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, both former astronauts, said flying the shuttle beyond 2010 may now be critical in light of Russia's recent invasion of the Republic of Georgia.
A newly aggressive Russia may not provide a reliable taxi service to the space station, which is scheduled to be completed in about a year, largely with U.S. funds, Glenn and Nelson said in a conference call with journalists.
Last week, NASA announced it had pushed back the launch of the Orion, the spacecraft designed to replace the space shuttle fleet, by one year to 2014. That would leave at least a four-year gap in which the U.S. must rely on Russian rockets for rides to the space station.
'Barrack wants to lessen the gap,' said Nelson, who orbited Earth aboard space shuttle Columbia in 1986.
I'm still waiting for the mission to Mars, bitches.