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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 Chernobyl68 on 10/23/2009 12:46:07 PM , Rating: 1
I don't think any of the recent private companies have achieved what would be needed to supply the space station:

Orbital flight.

The speeds and energies needed to put something into orbit is probably at least an order of magnitude higher than what some these "Space Tourist" flights are giving. They are flying a sub-orbital trajectory, and are unable to miss the earth when they fall.

RE: NASA is inefficient
By Redwin on 10/23/2009 1:15:18 PM , Rating: 2

SpaceX's Falcon first reached orbit over a year ago and they have already signed a deal with NASA to provide resupply missions to the space station. They haven't put any people up yet, and their deal is only for material resupply to the ISS for now, but they are working on a crew capsule to put on their heavy lift rocket, so its probably only a matter of time.

You're thinking of Virgin Galactic, et al, and their "SpaceShipOne" suborbital tourist flights, and that's not what anyone else here is referring to. They have nothing to do with Nasa or the ISS.

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