I was pleased to read several recent opinion articles on the U.S. space program in The Times recently. They represent, perhaps, a wider appreciation of the sorrowful condition of this country's program.
Since Apollo the government and public have relied on NASA to select the nation's goals in space. Apparently they were satisfied with the space shuttle, until the Challenger disaster. It is not, however, NASA's role to determine our future in space; that is the responsibility of the President and Congress.
No recent President has committed his support to the space program. President Reagan initiated the space station in 1984 but has failed to continue to endorse it. Reagan formed the National Commission on Space to draft a proposal for America's future in space, yet has taken no action on its recommendations (has he even read the NCS report?).
What the United States now needs is a President with the vision and tenacity to set long-term goals for the space program, implement and uphold them through his term. The prospects are discouraging, for the candidates do not consider space to be an issue of the presidential campaign or of importance to the public, and thus have indicated no support for it.