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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: I saw it coming
By geddarkstorm on 10/23/2009 2:02:37 PM , Rating: 4
This is terribly sad stuff... Regressing so much, losing our capabilities, our will. No longer able to effectively reach space... This country is becoming all sorts of messed up. It really feels like the standard decline any civilization goes through that we seem to be in right now. Question is, if true can it be stopped, and if not, what will we become in the end?

Space is to us now like what the ocean was to people a millennium ago or so. The great world shaping powers of those eras were the ones that mastered the waves, all the way up to the modern times. Then it became those who controlled skies after World War I. Now, it'll be whoever can effectively navigate space. We'll become just a marginalized relic of the past if we let other countries surpass us on that frontier.

We've got a long time before then though. Space is very hard. And there isn't anything like spice trade routes or colonies to set up that can push a race into space, yet. But for our race to advance, it's where we need to go. And the riches that even our near area solar system holds are vastly beyond anything here.

RE: I saw it coming
By SPOOFE on 10/25/2009 7:24:41 PM , Rating: 3
Regressing so much, losing our capabilities

Bah. We lost nothing but the momentum of the post-WWII boom. With the United States emerging from that conflict as the only significant industrial power on Earth without massive damage to its material infrastructure, we had growth and prosperity handed to us on a silver platter. It also gave us three generations of Americans who assumed constant economic expansion was a given, and not something that needs constant effort and vigilance to maintain.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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