I am deeply grieved by the loss of the crew of Columbia. I express my sincere condolences to the families and friends of the astronauts. I believe that their names will remain as the bright sparkling stars in the universe and will light the way for those who will follow them on the difficult roads of space exploration.
I stayed in the astronaut program until 1993. People ask me why I left. I thought I had a lot of things to contribute that would be difficult to do if I stayed. I thought I could have a stronger voice as an advocate for space exploration. So I ended up starting my own technology consulting company.
The partisanship surrounding space exploration and the retrenching of U.S. space policy are part of a more general trend: the decline of science in the United States. As its interest in science wanes, the country loses ground to the rest of the industrialized world in every measure of technological proficiency.