Neil Armstrong addressing the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology:

We will have no American access to, and return from, low Earth orbit and the International Space Station for an unpredictable length of time in the future.

For a country that has invested so much for so long to achieve a leadership position in space exploration and exploitation, this condition is viewed by many as lamentably embarrassing and unacceptable.

A lead, however earnestly and expensively won, once lost, is nearly impossible to regain .