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Press Release
Media Contact: 800-787-7223 or press@space-frontier.org
Sen. Glenn Shuttle Flight Most Expensive Congressional Junket Ever

Los Angeles, CA, January 15, 1998 – The Space Frontier Foundation called the expected Friday announcement by NASA of plans to fly Senator John Glenn on the space shuttle an elitist stunt and the most expensive Congressional junket in recent memory.

"This shows that NASA is still more interested in reliving its past than in opening space to the American people", said Space Frontier Foundation president Rick Tumlinson. "The idea of flying a multi-millionaire high government official is an insult to both the astronaut corps and the people who pay for our space program."

The Foundation believes this stunt shows that, contrary to its public assertions, NASA has not progressed at all from where it was in the 1960s. Rather than advancing private citizens' ability to enter space themselves, NASA continues feeding pork to Congress and performing public relations events as a way to stay funded.

"Honoring this great American hero is one thing, but NASA's claims that they are flying him to do 'research' is simply a lie," stated Tumlinson. "NASA only recently removed senior astronaut Story Musgrave from flight status because he was 61, and Glenn is in his late seventies!"

Tumlinson pointed out that it was Senator Glenn who spoke out after the Challenger accident and said it was too dangerous to fly civilians in space. "Has he changed his mind? This is a slap in the face to dozens of much more deserving people who have worked their whole lives for such an opportunity, people who can do a far better job of communicating the space experience to the rest of us, from teachers to reporters. Yet over the years NASA has told them all: 'No, No, No!' NASA should open this frontier to everyone, rather than using our Space Shuttle to give a Senator a gold watch."


The Space Frontier Foundation is an organization of people dedicated to opening the Space Frontier to human settlement as rapidly as possible. Our goals include protecting the Earth's fragile biosphere and creating a freer and more prosperous life for each generation by using the unlimited energy and material resources of space. Our purpose is to unleash the power of free enterprise and lead a united humanity permanently into the Solar System.

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Our definition of a "frontier enabling" technology or policy is one which has as its effect the acceleration of the creation of low cost access to the space frontier for private citizens and companies, enables or accelerates our use of space resources, and/or accelerates the rate at which wealth can be generated in space. In other words, is the project or policy going to provide a return on the national investment, if we define "return" to be the economically sustainable human habitation of space?

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