Give power to space program

At one time, Americans would have been able to laugh off a thinly veiled threat last week by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. No more, thanks to President Barack Obama.

Rogozin referred to economic sanctions against himself and other Russian leaders, imposed by the United States because of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

Then, he said, “I suggest to the U.S.A. to bring their astronauts to the International Space Station using a trampoline.”

He can make that threat because U.S. astronauts can get to the space station and back only by riding Russian rockets. In addition, many American rockets used to launch military and civilian payloads into space now use Russian engines.

Why? Because early in Obama’s presidency, the space shuttle program was scrapped. That left us at Moscow’s mercy to transport astronauts to and from the space station. Other changes resulted in reliance on Russian rocket engines.

In effect, the United States no longer is part of the space race.

It’s time to, as an astronaut might say, reverse thrust and get us out of this mess.