President George W. Bush directed NASA to develop a new rocket and crew transportation system to return to the moon and eventually Mars. The new administration dropped the Constellation program and the Ares rocket; although, it later included funding for a heavy-lift launch vehicle. President Obama has dismissed a moon mission, saying "We've been there before." Congressman Pete Olson of Sugar Land is a co-sponsor of the "Reasserting American Leadership in Space Act."
"What I would say to that, Ed, is I've been to China for about two weeks. I'm not going to tell you I know everything about China, having spent two weeks in China. And we've spent less than that on the moon. The Chinese see something we don't — they've got a plan to be landed on the moon by 2025."
Olson is co-sponsoring the so-called REAL Space Act with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee. She thinks Obama will be suitably impressed when he watches Endeavour launch this Friday.
"And he will see in real color — real life — the hard work, intensity and the dedication of these heroic Americans. I think that's going to be a good basis of dialogue with President Obama, that we don't want to lose that momentum. I can't imagine that what happens on Friday will not be an inspiring opportunity, and I cannot imagine that that will not be inspirational."
Republican Olson has teamed with Democrat Jackson-Lee repeatedly on NASA issues.
"Absolutely. I mean, if something's important to our area or to our state, we come together like no delegation. Congresswoman Jackson-Lee and I have stood side-by-side to fight all sorts of battles over NASA, and that's no going to change."