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.
quote: In order to design such a reactor, highly fissionable nuclear fuels such as Americium (Am) or Curium (Cm) must be used.These fairly rare fuels are produced from reprocessed spent nuclear fuel (via the extraction ofPu-241 and Am-241), which is a very expensive multistep process.