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NASA will rely on contractors to help pick up additional tasks as the U.S. space agency deals with money issues

Facing growing financial issues that may eliminate future missions to the moon and Mars, NASA may be prepared to let private contractors have a larger role in its future space endeavors.

President Barack Obama hasn't made any official decisions regarding the future of NASA, but several unnamed government officials and other space experts claim the private sector will be responsible for a larger amount of NASA-backed missions.

Currently, each shuttle launch is government-led, including the use of the current space shuttle fleet, but cost restraints may end up crippling anticipated missions.  During the previous administration, former President George W. Bush outlined a plan for NASA to return to the moon, but Obama's blueprint involves $30 billion to $50 billion less than what was expected over the next decade.

Outsourcing work to the private sector would allow the federal government to save the $30 billion to $50 billion, with contractors expected to help develop rocket-propulsion technology and plan manned launches to Mars.

As space nations outline plans to return to the moon by 2025, NASA is unlikely to launch a manned mission to the moon by 2020, as necessary funding will simply be unavailable.  The U.S. space agency is currently unable to finance any manned launches anywhere past the International Space Station (ISS) at the moment, according to former astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, who said NASA "just can't get there," regarding the moon.

Once the current space shuttle fleet is retired -- which is expected to take place in 2010 -- private contractors will help NASA get back to the ISS, along with the Russian space agency.

If NASA continued with its current budget, a return back to the moon wouldn't be possible until 2028, if not later.

Obama recently put together the Human Space Flight Committee of space experts and politicians to study how feasible it would be to launch towards the moon or Mars, but "at the end of the day, the President will make the decision, not a committee."

Until a final decision is made, the future of the U.S. space agency remains extremely confusing for the public, politicians, and contractors who may be called upon to help NASA with future space missions.



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Our inept government
By CosmoJoe on 8/23/2009 8:21:03 PM , Rating: 5
So let me get this straight. We will spend billions of dollars to bail out companies such as GM, AIG and Citi. We will spend trillions, when its all said and done, to clean up soured mortgage backed securities. We will spend billions on "cash for clunkers" and yet we can't seem to adequately fund NASA? We are now relying on other countries such as Russia just to get into orbit. This is really pathetic, and a huge step back from where we once stood with feet on the moon.




RE: Our inept government
By HotFoot on 8/24/2009 8:19:02 AM , Rating: 2
NASA doesn't provide socialism for the rich the way all the other programs do...

If your tax dollars aren't lining someone else's pockets as a direct result of the program, look for it to not gather much support.


RE: Our inept government
By Donovan on 8/24/2009 10:56:47 AM , Rating: 2
NASA still has until 8pm tonight to turn in those space shuttles for newer models.


"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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