Astronauts Speak On NASA's Future During AFA Visit

By: Eric Lupher Email
By: Eric Lupher Email
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Three NASA astronauts, whose most recent flight took place aboard the STS-131 Discovery in April of this year, visited the Air Force Academy Tuesday.

Col. James P. Dutton, Navy Capt. Alan P. Poindexter, and teacher Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger toured the AFA athletic facilities.

"This is quite an honor to be here," said Metcalf-Lindenburger, a shuttle flight specialist and Colorado native "This is something our country can be really proud of."

The astronauts also spent some time talking with AFA cadets. "It's nice to share some of the stories that we have from space and try to inspire some of the cadets," said Col. Dutton, pilot aboard the STS-131.

Tuesday's visit comes as questions continue to linger about NASA's future. "It's a challenging environment," said Navy Capt. Poindexter. "It's critical that we have a variable human space flight program."

Capt. Poindexter admits the space program is dealing with budget shortfalls. "Some tough decisions have to be made."

Capt. Poindexter says one thing will remain constant for another decade: NASA is still funded by the International Space Station through 2020. "American crews will orbit continuously until then."

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