Entries in Space (2)


Gingrich Envisions Space Colonies in Near Future

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(COCOA BEACH, Fla.) -- Newt Gingrich really wants to go to the moon -- and to Mars.  And he would give statehood to a space colony, if it had a big enough population.

Speaking to a yet another massive crowd in Cocoa Beach, on Florida’s space coast, Gingrich ditched his stump speech and offered his vision of an ambitious new space program.

"By the end of my second term,” Gingrich said, prompting the crowd to erupt in applause, “we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.”

And he was just getting started; by 2020, he said, there would be regular flights to Mars.

“I am sick of being told we have to be timid and I’m sick of being told we have to be limited to technologies that are 50 years old," Gingrich said.

Reminding the crowd that Romney had made fun of his plans for lunar colonies, Gingrich said there is something Romney’s researchers haven’t found yet, something he referred to as “the weirdest thing I’ve ever done”:  When he was in the House, he authored a bill that would allow a lunar colony to apply for statehood once it reached 13,000 residents.

A gentleman in the audience told ABC News he had worked on Gingrich’s congressional staff and helped with the bill, which was called a Northwest Territory Ordinance for Space.  The man said the bill would have allowed space colonies with over 20,000 people to apply for recognition as a U.S. territory.

In fact, after his speech a reporter asked when the lunar primary would be, and Gingrich quipped that it would be one of the later primaries.

As Gingrich presented his bold vision for space, he said his plans are another in a long line of great American ideas. In so doing, perhaps he was embracing the epithet that has so often been hurled at him, that he is “grandiose.”

“I accept the charge that I am American and Americans are instinctively grandiose because we believe in a bigger future,” he said.

Crowds in Cocoa Beach seemed to agree.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rick Perry Accuses Obama of Leaving Astronauts to 'Hitchhike into Space'

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As America bids farewell to the space shuttle era on Thursday, likely presidential candidate Rick Perry appears none too pleased with the Obama administration, accusing the president of “leaving American astronauts with no alternative but to hitchhike into space.”

In a sharply worded statement issued by the governor of Texas -- the state is home to the Johnson Space Center -- Perry charges that the Obama administration “continues to lead federal agencies and programs astray, this time forcing NASA away from its original purpose of space exploration, and ignoring its groundbreaking past and enormous future potential.”

Thursday marked the final flight of the space shuttle as the Shuttle Atlantis landed before dawn at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Shuttles flew 135 flights over the last three decades. Americans will still live on the International Space Station, but they will have to use Russian craft and private companies for transportation to and from space.

The International Space Station is expected to remain in use until 2020.

Near the end of the statement from Perry’s office is a note that the Johnson Space Center employs 3,000 people and draws in the business of about 50 outside companies and 12,000 contract positions. “An estimated 4,000 contract positions will be lost due to the end of the shuttle program," according to the statement.

Perry, who appears to be laying the groundwork to enter the 2012 presidential race, did not mention President George W. Bush's role in the end of the space shuttle era. In 2004 at a speech at NASA headquarters, Bush laid out what the White House called his "New Vision For Space Exploration," which called for the retirement of the space shuttle.

Back then, Bush called for the space shuttle to be taken out of service in 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio