Do we need astronauts? What Bolden said
The headline is alarming: "There May be No More Astronauts At All!"
That's what IsraelNationalNews.com got out of a news conference with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden during a visit to Israel last week.
You can watch the video yourself to confirm what exactly he said when asked about the prospect of another Israeli astronaut.
A sound bite:
"I can guarantee you there will be debate as to whether NASA needs to have astronauts . . . I wish it were not gonna come up, but it will come up. You don't have a space shuttle, you're not flying a vehicle, so why do you need astronauts? I get asked those kinds of questions all the time."
In context, he wasn't suggesting there was any question about the need for astronauts in his own mind, but he has said more than once there is a debate about the future of the astronaut office.
The Houston Chronicle's Eric Berger reports these clarifications from Bolden himself when he met with the newspaper's editorial board earlier this week:
"In my view there will always be the need for NASA to have a professional astronaut corps."
Of course the astronaut corps will get smaller after the shuttle stops flying, he said, but for many if not most missions, "you just couldn't pull someone off the street, give them a few weeks of training, and have them go fly."
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