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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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The best overall option
By randomly on 10/23/2009 2:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
http://vimeo.com/7209149

A large part of NASA's problems are that it is tasked with ambitious goals, but congress fails to deliver the money promised and the programs slowly choke to death causing huge amounts of waste. The money has to match the goals, the money also needs to be there consistently, not changing year to year so all the budgets and all the contracts have to be redone over and over every year. Congress needs to allocate funds in 5 year chunks, and the money needs to be sufficient for the goals assigned. If there is less money, then the goals need to be scaled back appropriately. The worst thing is to have a mismatch of trying to do too much with too little money.




RE: The best overall option
By Jaybus on 10/25/2009 10:20:12 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think so. The large part of the problem is that, like any government agency, it can't seem to get past bloated bureaucracy that makes everything take twice the manpower and money that it should.


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