NASA's administrator says canceling the International Space Station would be "devastating" even though it is over budget, behind schedule and not being supported by Russia.
"If we cancel the space station, we will be canceling manned space flight," Daniel Goldin said Wednesday at a hearing of the House Science Committee.Goldin noted that the United States now only has the space shuttle for putting people into orbit, and said it "doesn't make sense" to continue for years to just send the shuttle up and down.
"It would be devastating" to cancel the station, he said.
Goldin was responding to Rep. Nicholas V. Lampson, D-Texas, who said cost overruns and Russia's failure to meet its agreement have caused some in Congress to feel that the space station should be canceled.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., said that either Goldin or the administration is "being totally irresponsible" in not correcting the problems with the space station. Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, R-Mich., called the space station "a fine kettle of fish that are starting to smell."
Goldin and the Clinton administration came under such criticism because the U.S. space station costs have soared far above the original estimate of $17 billion and may reach $25 billion.