NASA’s deputy chief echoes JFK in commercial pitch

Morhard and Bridenstine
NASA Deputy Administrator James Morhard, at left, receives congratulations from NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine after a swearing-in ceremony last October. (NASA Photo / Joel Kowsky)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — NASA’s No. 2 official channeled President John F. Kennedy today in a pitch designed to please space industry executives.

“We choose to commercialize low Earth orbit,” Deputy Administrator James Morhard declared here at the Commercial Space Transportation Conference. “We choose to have free space lanes in commerce, just as we have had free sea lanes of commerce on Earth.”

The phrasing echoed Kennedy’s famous 1962 speech that set out the goal of putting Americans on the moon. “We choose to go to the moon,” said the president, who put his goal on a par with crossing the Atlantic and climbing Mount Everest. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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