backtop


Print 31 comment(s) - last by Spookster.. on Jan 31 at 2:15 AM


Ares 1-X launch; October 28, 2009  (Source: NASA)
Obama's 2011 budget proposal is expected to face stiff opposition

America's space program is at a crossroads. This year, the Space Shuttle fleet is expected to be retired after nearly 30 years of ferrying astronauts and equipment into space. In addition, there have been calls to have its immediate successor -- the Ares I launch vehicle which would be topped with an Orion crew capsule -- shelved altogether.

A 155-page report issued in November 2009 by the Augustine Panel made a number of recommendations on which direction to steer NASA in the future. The recommendations included 1) hitching rides into space using spacecraft from other nations or private contractors, 2) keeping the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs alive, albeit in more limited roles, and 3) shifting the focus from returning to the moon and instead aiming for Mars.

The Augustine Panel also made it clear that the estimated $145 billion cost to return to the moon by 2020 would not be possible given NASA's $18.7 billion yearly allowance for all operations.

According to a new report by Space News, it appears that the Ares 1 launch vehicle and the Orion crew capsule may be put on the chopping block. President Obama is not expected to give NASA the $1 billion increase in its yearly budget that had been hoped for to help further develop the Ares program.

President Obama's 2011 budget for NASA aligns closely with the recommendations of the Augustine Panel. The budget calls for the the use of commercial spacecraft and rockets to carry astronauts into space instead of relying on the behind schedule, cost-overrun Ares program. Another Augustine Panel carryover is the decision to bypass the moon and instead gun for near-Earth asteroids and onward to Mars.

The Wall Street Journal says that the efforts to initialize the private sector -- including startup firms -- for carrying astronauts into space will be a "multi-year, multi-billion-dollar initiative". Private firms are expected to receive roughly $200 million during the first phase of the program. The total amount doled out within the first five years could balloon to more than $3.5 billion according to sources familiar with the details of the budget. The funds for the private ventures would be pulled from NASA's yearly $18.7 billion budget.

Industry stalwarts like Boeing and Lockheed Martin are expected to benefit from this new initiative, but smaller firms like Space Exploration Technologies would also be vying for NASA dollars.

Not surprisingly, there is opposition to the there mere mention of NASA outsourcing crew vehicles to the private sector. Charles Precourt, a senior exec at Alliant Tech Systems remarked that such proposals are "really radical" and that they are "extremely high risk". In addition, Precourt said that whatever option is selected for the future direction of NASA must be accompanied by a subsequent increase in its budget.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

I hate this administration
By Randomblame on 1/25/2010 3:57:32 AM , Rating: 2
Obama lobbied to get the "stimulus" bill passed which cost 787 Billion dollars and accomplished nothing. Nasa needed 150 billion to go to the moon. How much for mars 250, 350 billion? That money could have been better spent on nasa! Imagine what 787 billion dollars could have done for our space program! Lets compare the effects of the stimulus bill to giving it to nasa:

Job Creation -
Nasa: Imagine all of the high skill, high pay jobs that would have went to americans if nasa had recieved the cash.

Stimulus Bill: I have not seen evidence of a single permanent job created by the bill however a lot of companies got money for the automation of factories which cost thousands of jobs

Education:
Nasa - Children are constantly inspired by seeing men and women in space, hearing stories about the moon landings. Every little boy wants to be an astronaut and every parent takes advantage of that to get them to do their homework.

Stimulus Bill: Well they included more money for food stamps for some states, I guess that means more kids are eating free lunches. Plus they get the valuable life lesson from their parents that if they don't work they can still eat.

Science-
Nasa: The amount of technologies that would have been developed for long range space flight would have been astounding. Every field of science from botany to chemistry, metallurgy to geology would have benefited.

Stimulus bill: Several hundred million was invested to help find a way to make pig manure smell better, pretty sure no actual research was done.

Is that enough? It's like handing your stock portfolio over to an 8 year old and letting them take charge of it. The worst part of the classic liberal over spending problem is that they never spend it on anything worth a damn. They just flush it down the toilet.




RE: I hate this administration
By Sokal on 1/25/2010 5:14:37 AM , Rating: 3
Excuse me, but if I remember correctly, Mac Cain was also pushing for the very same stimulus plan before the elections... So did Bush, and... Every politician, really. So if Obama is so wrong, they were all wrong.

I am not saying the stimulus plan is good, but you have to admit you're blaming Obama for something he did'nt decide by himself. They were all in on it, republicans included.

Further more, if Obama had done the exact opposite, and given Nasa tons of cash, I am pretty certain you would have been yelling against it too.

You hate Obama. We get the point. If he gave you a brand new house on the beach you would probably tell him you hate the view.

But it does'nt really say anything about the article we are talking about: will the private sector help space exploration get on track, or will it go nowhere?

That is the real question.

For my part, I'd rather ask Sigourney Weaver what she thinks than to read the rantings... Is she unfrozen yet? How is her stomac doing this time? :-)


RE: I hate this administration
By amanojaku on 1/25/2010 9:31:24 AM , Rating: 2
A potential reason for investing in private firms instead of using government agencies is money. Few government agencies make money, and NASA is no exception. The government cannot afford to operate at a loss these days, and in general, so privatizing certain operations makes sense. A private company can offer services to both the government and the public with the potential for profit. And as an investor the government would get paid back if the company does well. Otherwise it's lost money just like what goes into NASA. Just a theory, anyway.


RE: I hate this administration
By AssBall on 1/25/2010 11:31:37 AM , Rating: 2
We could easily afford to operate NASA if we stopped wasting money on administration, finances, and social programs. 19 billion a year??? That is nothing, as the original poster pointed out. If we can spend ONE HUNDRED times that on useless new policies, I don't see how something that is actually beneficial has to suffer.

I may not agree specifically with how NASA manages their budget, but I'd sure be alot happier giving my money to them than the GM Union,Fanny Mac, Bureaucrats, and the like.


RE: I hate this administration
By mmatis on 1/25/2010 11:34:51 AM , Rating: 1
The government has repeatedly shown it has no concern about operating at a loss. Just look at HUD. Or any other fine government welfare deal. Osama is about to suck on a bunch of PowerPoint slides that haven't even taking paying passengers suborbital yet. Just shoveling money down a rat hole to buy some campaign donations. This will not end well. But then, that's probably what the Head Nanny What's In Charge is looking for.


RE: I hate this administration
By Solandri on 1/25/2010 1:47:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am not saying the stimulus plan is good, but you have to admit you're blaming Obama for something he did'nt decide by himself. They were all in on it, republicans included.

Personally I believe a stimulus plan was needed. But you are wrong here. Republicans generally tend to be against stimulus-type plans. Only 3 Republican Senators and no Representatives voted for the current stimulus plan. Even the stimulus plans which passed under Bush were opposed by a majority of Republicans.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Recovery_and...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_Stimulus_Act...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Economic_St...

Like I said, I think the majority of Republicans were wrong on this. But if you think the stimulus isn't working, don't blame the Republicans for passing it.

quote:
Further more, if Obama had done the exact opposite, and given Nasa tons of cash, I am pretty certain you would have been yelling against it too.

Well, generally that's true of everyone and everything. Everyone feels there's a certain right amount of funding for everything. Don't give it enough money and they yell at you. Give it too much money and they yell at you. The trick is to arrive at an amount of funding which generates the least amount of yelling.

quote:
You hate Obama. We get the point. If he gave you a brand new house on the beach you would probably tell him you hate the view.

I don't hate Obama. But if he gave me a brand new beach house, I would hate him because that's a profligate waste of money since I neither deserve one nor would I be able to use one to generate a return on the government's investment for it to make financial sense for them to give me that much taxpayer money. Actually, now that I say that, that's probably why some people seem to hate Obama for the stimulus. They think it was full of profligate wastes of money.

quote:
But it does'nt really say anything about the article we are talking about: will the private sector help space exploration get on track, or will it go nowhere?

I would say no, it will go nowhere. The private sector will develop launch vehicles to put satellites into orbit because it's a tried and true business model with predictable incomes and historically measurable risks. Exploration on the other hand is by its very definition a journey into the unknown which yields unknown returns. Business has a very difficult time making heads or tails of unknowns (it's why the amount of money invested in R&D varies wildly by company). Historically, it's traditionally been governments which spurred on and funded exploration.


RE: I hate this administration
By Reclaimer77 on 1/25/2010 5:35:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Excuse me, but if I remember correctly, Mac Cain was also pushing for the very same stimulus plan before the elections... So did Bush, and... Every politician, really. So if Obama is so wrong, they were all wrong.


That's a lie. The TARP was NOT the stimulus bill.

quote:
They were all in on it, republicans included.


That's a lie. And you can't blame Republicans when, pay attention, the Republicans do NOT have enough votes to stop any of this.


"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

Related Articles













botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki