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President Obama controls NASA's destiny, as the U.S. space agency needs at least $3B more per year

A 10-member government panel released a new 157-report that indicates NASA should consider ditching its new rocket, saying its findings can be considered options, not recommendations.

After construction of the International Space Station is completed in 2010, the three space shuttles that make up NASA's fleet will be retired.  The shuttle fleet retirement opens up a several year gap that will force the U.S. space agency to rely on the Russian space program to transport supplies and astronauts to the ISS.

"It's human spaceflight activities are nonetheless at a tipping point, primarily due to a mismatch of goals and resources," according to the Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of a Great Nation report.  "Either additional funds need to be made available or a far more modest program involving little or no exploration needs to be adopted."

The U.S. space agency has put high hopes on its Ares I rockets and Orion spacecraft, but the project severely lacks funds, which has led some to speculate the next-generation launch capsule is a mistake.  The timing of the report's release has proven to be interesting -- Ares is expected to make its first test flight later this month.

Essentially, the future of NASA is now squarely in President Barack Obama's hands, with the president's staff calling on space experts to share their thoughts and ideas.  Congress and the president will now meet to discuss the possibility of boosting NASA's $18.7 billion annual budget to $21.7 billion.

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RE: NASA is inefficient
By drycrust on 10/23/2009 11:27:03 AM , Rating: 4
But, aside from the Russian space agency, what company (or government agency) is routinely and safely sending people into space?

China and India both have sent probes to the moon, and China has managed to put a man into orbit and safely get him back, so potentially both could do this type of work. After all, if a helpdesk can be in China and India, then there isn't any reason a rocket launch can't be done there. A few historical crowd shots from Florida, a countdown using an American accent, voila! Nobody notices the launch was in another country.

I think the real problem is a lack of proper management. To have an ill-defined "several years" gap between the shuttle and "whatever" looks like serious mismanagement.

Maybe this is the time to drag the olde Saturn V out of the museum to do the job, after all it was designed on a slide rule and has a decent payload, but probably isn't "green" enough with it's Kerosene and Liquid Oxygen engine.

RE: NASA is inefficient
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 10/23/2009 3:00:03 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget Iran. I think they like to claim they been in space and back.

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