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NASA still unsure how to end Constellation and move forward

NASA has been plagued with financial issues and a continued lack of innovation, but now faces the equally daunting task of leaving behind the Constellation program.

President Obama and numerous space observers have been appalled at how poorly operated NASA has been in the past, with internal struggle and political opposition expected to make change even more difficult.  NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has garnered support from some politicians who said the White House is doing whatever it likes instead of working with experts.

As part of the agreement to end Constellation, NASA is expected to pay $2.5 billion to contractors already working on the Ares Rockets, Altair lunar lander, and Orion space capsule.  However, it's unknown how accurate the $2.5 billion estimate is, even though NASA relied on its own analysts and industry analysts to calculate the price.

NASA originally hoped to return to the moon by 2025, as other space nations plan to send lunar spacecraft and manned missions in the same time frame.  China, Japan, Russia, India, and several other developing space programs have expressed interest in landing on the moon by 2030 -- space industry observers think China will be the next country to reach the moon.

The 2011 budget has likely ended any chance of NASA returning to the moon, with private companies expected to help transport astronauts into space.

President Obama must now try to limit ongoing bickering as he works with NASA, private contractors, and legislators during his presidency.  The U.S. space agency will now rely more on the private contractors until current funding problems are sorted out in the future.

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RE: The moon
By danobrega on 3/1/2010 3:05:00 PM , Rating: 2
If you think that then you would understand that it is far more important to research and develop a standalone, self sufficient station on earth, possibly on a desert.

Attempts at this have been made and failed.

RE: The moon
By porkpie on 3/1/2010 3:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
The self-sufficiency angle is a red herring. There isn't a city on earth that's self-sufficient, that wouldn't starve to death in ten days if food shipments stopped. Why should a moon base be any different? There's no reason we can't regularly ship it small quantities of volatiles.

RE: The moon
By FaaR on 3/2/2010 12:38:57 AM , Rating: 2
Just because attempts have failed doesn't mean all attempts ever will fail. Far more attempts at getting heavier-than-air flying machines to actually fly failed than attempts to get self-sufficient stations on earth to be self-sufficient.

Yet despite that, today we have jet airliners taking off virtually every second of every minute on every hour, day and night all year round on this planet.

Only if you want to set yourself up for eternal failure do you give up after only a few half-hearted attempts.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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