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Planetary Society Participates in President Obama's Florida Space Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
04/14/2010

CONTACT:
Mat Kaplan
Email: mat.kaplan@planetary.org
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

A strong contingent of Planetary Society board members will participate in President Obama's April 15th Space Conference in Florida, including Executive Director Louis Friedman, President Jim Bell, Vice President Bill Nye, and board member Scott Hubbard.

Bell said, "The Planetary Society supports President Obama's proposed NASA budget, which we believe puts human space flight on the most direct path into the solar system. To get beyond Earth orbit, we need to develop new technologies like a deep-space rocket more powerful than anything we have in the pipeline today."

The Obama Administration proposed a major new approach to human space flight in the fiscal year 2011 NASA budget. The proposal would increase NASA spending by $6 billion over five years and shift responsibility for launching astronauts to low Earth orbit to commercially developed rockets.

"People don't realize that NASA's budget has been increased, not decreased," said Nye. "The President is proposing that we let the maturing commercial space industry take over the routine jobs, while making more money available to explore other worlds. It couldn't be more exciting."

Last year, the Society presented its recommendation, "Beyond the Moon: A New Roadmap for Human Space Exploration in the 21st Century," to both the Committee to Review U.S. Human Space Flight Plans -- headed by Norm Augustine -- and to the incoming Obama Administration. This "roadmap" was very similar to the "flexible path" defined by the Augustine Committee.

"Advance reports from the White House about the President's speech add some exciting new details about the Obama plan," said Friedman. "This is the first budget in history to contain a commitment to send humans into the solar system. What's not to like about more money, more jobs, more technology and more goals for humans in space?"

Planetary Society board members will be available in Florida for interviews regarding the new NASA budget and the President's remarks, including such contentious issues as jobs, the long-scheduled retirement of the shuttle, and the new emphasis on using commercial launch vehicles.

To arrange an advance interview or to discuss President Obama's speech with one of The Planetary Society's board members in Florida, contact Susan Lendroth at 626-793-5100 ext 237 or at susan.lendroth@planetary.org.

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About the Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded the Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a long time member of the Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.

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