Texas Gov. Rick Perry says the cost-saving decision to end NASA's shuttle program will leave American astronauts with "no alternative but to hitchhike into space."
The Republican had harsh words for the end of the shuttle era in a statement released Thursday.
President Barack Obama, who rejected last-ditch appeals to keep shuttles flying, has set goals of astronaut expeditions to an asteroid by 2025 and then to Mars. But Perry said Obama is leading federal agencies astray.
Perry says space exploration should be defined "not in terms of what we cannot do, but instead in terms of what we will do."
Perry is considering a run for the White House in 2012.