Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) who is the ranking member of the Seapower and Expeditionary Forces Subcommittee, lashed out at the Obama administration today for its decision to cancel NASA's Constellation program.
In a statement the Missouri Republican said the move would leave the United States "reliant upon the Soviet Union" for future low-earth orbit access.
Yes, you read that right. The statement included a reference to "the Soviet Union" -- which ceased to exist in 1991.
Here is the full statement, with the bit of Cold War nostalgia in bold:
America's accomplishments in space exploration have long been a source of pride and inspiration. It is an endeavor that has spanned every administration since President Eisenhower's. As a result of the necessity of building new technology as well as maintaining our nations leading role in exploration and launch capability, NASA's manned flight mission has traditionally received broad bipartisan support.
"The decision by the Obama administration to gut NASA's manned flight program does more than jeopardize the long term goals of solar system exploration, the cancellation of the space shuttles replacement will effectively leave the United States reliant upon the Soviet Union to grant us access to low earth orbit. As a member of the Armed Services Committee I am very concerned with that possibility, and as an American I am disappointed by the prospect.
Criticisms like Akin's have compelled President Obama to take a more forceful and supportive stance on all things NASA. Obama defended his decision to cancel the Constellation program on Thursday, saying the mission was outdated and over budget.
But he reaffirmed his commitment to space exploration during a speech at the Kennedy Space Center, saying "the bottom line is, nobody is more committed to manned space flight, to human exploration of space, than I am." The president also called on NASA to ramp up research on a new heavy-lift rocket for manned flights, putting out a 2015 target date for a finalized rocket design.
Here's a screen shot of the congressman's Web page: