Neil Armstrong Blasts Obama Space Cuts Loss of space capability will make US second-rate nation, Armstrong warns By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Apr 14, 2010 4:44 AM CDT 39 comments Comments Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin plant the American flag on the moon, July 20, 1969. (AP Photo/NASA, file) (Newser) – President Obama's decision to ax NASA's return-to-the-moon program is a giant leap backwards for America, moonwalker Neil Armstrong charges in an open letter to the president. The letter, released to NBC by Armstrong and two fellow Apollo commanders, says that while some of the NASA budget cuts have merit, the decision to cut the Constellation program is "devastating." For the US "to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future destines our nation to become one of second- or even third-rate stature," the astronauts wrote. "Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity."