James Lovell, commander of the Apollo 13 space mission, said Wednesday that “there is no reason to drastically cut” NASA, which is facing major budget reductions in Congress.
“We have to look at what NASA does as a support function for other industries that will help this country,” Lovell said at a National Press Club luncheon. “We should keep the program going.”
Lovell’s remarks came one day after the House Science Committee approved a bill requiring NASA to cut $700 million from its fiscal 1996 budget.
Later Wednesday, President Clinton conferred the ninth Congressional Space Medal Of Honor on Lovell. Clinton said that Lovell “gained another important foothold in the long struggle to maintain the space program … and to make it part of our definition of what it means to be an American and to fight for the future.”
Joining Lovell at the Press Club was actor Tom Hanks, who stars in the movie “Apollo 13.”