Supporting the Space Program

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Has "reaching for the stars" changed since last year's Columbia disaster? A former shuttle astronaut doesn't think so.

Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, who now heads Columbus' "Cosi" museum, spoke Tuesday to the area business roundtable.

Sullivan, who flew on both the Challenger and Atlantis, says the exploration of space has continued since the tragedy and that young people still aspire to becoming astronauts. She adds the space program doesn't cost as much as some people think.

"If you look at the numbers the president proposed for the moon and mars program, the percentage would go to 87 percent of a penny," Dr. Sullivan explained. "Those are big numbers and absolute dollars, but I find it hard to accept the argument that 86 percent of a penny represents a gross warping in other national priorities that is unwarranted."

Dr. Sullivan points out that, just since the fatal shuttle accident in February, 2003, a new astronaut class has graduated. Dr. Sullivan received the roundtable's "Mister Mac" award for leadership, named for longtime area businessman Bernard McDonough.