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Orion may live on in simpler design

America has been the leading spacefaring nations on the planet since the early days of space travel. The U.S. put the first man on the moon and continued to lead the world in exploration and space travel. President Obama unveiled a new budget for NASA in February that dealt many of its space flight programs a serious blow including ambitious plans for putting American's back on the moon.

Obama has already cut funding for the Constellation program along with the funding that would allow for the completion of the Orion crew capsule that would take astronauts to the ISS after the space shuttle fleet is retired. Many in Washington and at NASA have been calling for Obama to clarify his plans for NASA.

Obama is going to talk at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida about his plans for NASA and human spaceflight. The 
New York Times quotes an unnamed Obama administration official saying, "[The president will describe a plan] that unlocks our ambitions and expands our frontiers in space, ultimately meaning the challenge of sending humans to Mars."

Obama is reportedly going to propose a simpler version of the Orion capsule to be used as a lifeboat for the ISS. Obama is also expected to announce a commitment to choosing a design for a heavy-lift rocket by 2015. The official added, "This means major work on the heavy-lift rocket at least two years earlier than Constellation."

One of the big concerns is that the budget cuts will mean thousands of people working in the space industry in Florida and other states are facing layoffs. The 
Wall Street Journal reports that 7,000 workers at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida are facing layoff with the new budget. Concessions made to allow for a simpler version of Orion will allow 2,000 of those jobs to be saved.

NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver said, "He's [Obama is] putting a lot of political capital into it. Human spaceflight is a huge priority of this president."

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the letters
By kattanna on 4/14/2010 11:12:35 AM , Rating: 2
it will be interesting to see if the 2 letters the white house has received in the past days will have any influence.

kinda hard to ignore them

Neil Armstrong, the first man on the Moon, has launched an unprecedented attack on President Obama’s plans to dismantle Nasa’s manned space exploration programme.

The world’s best-known astronaut, who has traditionally avoided controversy and rarely seeks the limelight despite his feat 41 years ago, warned that Mr Obama risks blasting American space superiority on a “long downhill slide to mediocrity”.

RE: the letters
By evan24999 on 4/14/10, Rating: -1
RE: the letters
By MrBungle123 on 4/14/2010 11:37:36 AM , Rating: 5
Because going to mars requires living there for a year to get back... The moon is a relatively close place where we can learn to deal with problems like radiation and growing food and making what we need to survive in a barren in hospitiable wasteland and still be able to abort if things start to go wrong.

RE: the letters
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/14/2010 11:43:31 AM , Rating: 2
There are many articles and such out there stating how Obama wants to total close NASA. Just handle satellites... I do not know if it is true but he killed the moon mission very quickly and now that people have voiced their opinions he's giving money to NASA.

He wants to take over this planet before heading towards other planets.... :)

You do not want to bypass the moon... It's been 40 years since we landed on another planet/moon. It will be a new experience for almost everyone at NASA. So, they need to re-learn... The equipment would be different. We would be starting from ground zero. Beside many believe the moon would be a great place to launch the Mar mission(s) from. One main reason is it would use less fuel if I'm not mistake (not sure how much fuel would be spent getting Mar mission fuel to the moon).

RE: the letters
By MozeeToby on 4/14/2010 12:31:43 PM , Rating: 2
But the equipment used to land on the moon would be completely different from the equipment used to land on mars.

The capsules and rockets used to get to the moon wouldn't be anywhere near large enough to get to Mars with the supplies and fuel that would be needed. The landers would have to be totally different due to different conditions (gravity, atmosphere, etc). Even rovers designed for the moon would have to be redesigned from scratch for the different surface conditions on Mars.

And besides all that, a mars mission requires only slightly more delta-V than a moon mission. Landing on the moon, then launching to Mars will actually cost you fuel (due the the fact that you have to burn to insert yourself into Lunar orbit). Not saying that a semi-permanent base on the moon wouldn't be an awesome and important thing to do, but it is most certainly not a requirement for a Mars mission.

RE: the letters
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/14/2010 1:02:52 PM , Rating: 3
Well never thought it a requirement (Moon base), but a cost saving plan. Of course the cost savings may not come early, it might only happen after x number of missions or if we can make fuel from the sources already on the moon.

I understand that Mars and Moon capsules and rockets would be of different size and power, but would it not be like a sail boat on the Sea? That is there are many different size, carrying ability, top speeds, and other characteristics, however all sail boats have the same basic fundamentals in the design. So, take you spacecraft and scale it to the correct needed size or specs?

Guessing your going to say, "not that simple"

RE: the letters
By ayat101 on 4/15/2010 3:15:21 AM , Rating: 3
You *MISS* the point that the Moon has water and other ingredients to produce fuel for a Mars and *OTHER* missions, such as asteroid mining or space habitats.

The *WHOLE POINT* was a base on the Moon would produce fuel for other missions because the gravity well on the Moon is much smaller than on the Earth and thus it requires less fuel to launch from the Moon. The possibility also exists to produce other materials on the Moon further reducing what has to be hoisted out of Earth's gravity well.

The above is *IN ADDITION* to other benefits a Moon base would bring in research and materials.

The whole idea of changing NASA's mission to a long term Mars mission is precisely the *LONG TERM* part... because it may *NEVER* get done, will not be done by the current administration, can be altered and cancelled in the future, and problems can generally be pushed off and blamed on others.

With a Moon mission setting up a base commits NASA to finishing also the longer term projects. Plus things actualy get done rather than reports and beuracratic plans.

RE: the letters
By Sahrin on 4/14/2010 12:19:16 PM , Rating: 3
No, they don't plan on it - they just say they'll do it.

The criticism of Bush's proposal was that it was a plan without funding.

Obama's proposal isn't a plan at all - it's just a statement of principal: "private industry should lead human space exploration."

And Obama has *NOT* cut funding to NASA, he actually added a couple of Billion to their budget - he gutted Human Spaceflight in favor of robotic exploration.

Your point of view is really stunning to me - you basically say once something's done, it doesn't need to be done again. We're not getting any value out of our $100B trip to the moon (rough cost of the Apollo Program) other than the (admittedly massive) ancillary benefits. The whole reason you go to the moon is to 'path find.' There are resources on the moon which are tremendously valuable and can be obtained with dramatically less risk than those on Earth (among them habitat space) - the point of human exploration is not to 'go there.' It's to found a New World. Why waste time if the whole purpose is to just say you went there? Isn't that just a colossal waste of money?

RE: the letters
By bh192012 on 4/14/2010 1:21:23 PM , Rating: 2
It all depends on how you look at it.

In absolute dollars their budget is higher, in 2007 dollars it's slightly higher, but as a % of the federal budget it's much lower and almost the lowest it's ever been.

RE: the letters
By Bateluer on 4/14/2010 2:03:50 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a big proponent of human space flight. Robotic explorers will never be able to match what a human is capable of doing. To utterly gut the human spaceflight initiatives at NASA is insulting and Mr. Armstrong is absolutely correct to criticize it.

We never should have killed the lunar missions and Apollo projects. We should have already walked on Mars, the technology exists. Our short sighted politicians and ignorant populace don't see the benefits and are content to meander in mediocrity here on Earth.

RE: the letters
By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2010 3:49:48 PM , Rating: 3
Obama's proposal isn't a plan at all - it's just a statement of principal: "private industry should lead human space exploration."

Which is amazing to me. Considering as how he doesn't want the private industry leading our banking, automotive, health care, employment, transportation etc etc industries. But going into space ?? Yeah apparently THAT is something the private industry should lead.

RE: the letters
By ekv on 4/14/2010 4:57:30 PM , Rating: 2
Damn. That's exactly it.

I was just thinking that the other day. Why the heck would he put "private industry" on point here? Traditionally, NASA has been the leader here and conversely private industry has been the leader in banking, etc. Now that has been flipped topsy-turvy, bass-ackwards. People did vote for change ... [they just didn't realize that meant getting pennies on the dollar].

Space exploration is a minuscule market in comparison to banking, automotive and health care. 'Take over the big stuff first. Worry about the peons later....' That kind of attitude.

Don't get me wrong. I'd love to see private industry flourish. But they aren't quite there yet and NASA is in position to (at least) continue world leadership. I don't think there is any other gov't program that has been as successful as space exploration -- lots of hi-tech derivatives making lots of money. Etc.

There's no guarantee but NASA has in the past been worth the investment.

RE: the letters
By cmdrdredd on 4/14/2010 5:11:26 PM , Rating: 2
Space exploration is a minuscule market in comparison to banking, automotive and health care. 'Take over the big stuff first. Worry about the peons later....' That kind of attitude.

Right, private companies won't invest here because there is no return on their investment. There is no product to sell. Sure maybe you could say "government contract" like the military, but just the research alone would be outrageously expensive and no self respecting businessman would take the risk to invest billions even with partners. This isn't like building a car people will buy, or a new computer chip for a phone that you could sell to companies directly. This is a pure scientific research and exploration. There has never been much profit there. Just ask any research scientist why they don't live in million dollar mansions.

RE: the letters
By cmdrdredd on 4/14/2010 4:52:43 PM , Rating: 2
And Obama has *NOT* cut funding to NASA, he actually added a couple of Billion to their budget - he gutted Human Spaceflight in favor of robotic exploration.

If you believe this then I have a Tropical Vacation site to sell you in Alaska.

RE: the letters
By FITCamaro on 4/14/2010 9:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
Well he's right on the budget being larger. But yeah like many things, it's becoming another arm of the Democrat party.

RE: the letters
By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2010 3:47:19 PM , Rating: 1
It's called misdirection fool. Obama is an expert on it. He promises doing one thing "at some point" in the future so you don't get mad about him doing the exact opposite. Like how he is killing all energy production in this country with Cap and Trade, and then promises to start drilling for more offshore oil. Excuse me ?? Do we all have 'MORON' stamped on our heads or something ?

You can't cripple our ability to get to the moon and then promise to go to Mars. How does that work exactly ? In ObamaVerse is Mars somehow closer or easier to get to than the Moon ?

RE: the letters
By psychmike on 4/14/10, Rating: 0
RE: the letters
By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2010 7:26:58 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not a big fan of Obama.

Really ?

But to be fair he inherited a huge budget deficit,

Compared to what Obama has turned it into, I would call 600 billion VERY manageable. You can't really use what you "inherited" as an excuse when EVER POLICY YOU DICTATE makes it worse. That's like bitching you inherited a house full of rats, throwing a raw chicken in it, and leaving the doors and windows open.

Remember, GWB inherited huge budget surpluses from Clinton.

The United States lost over a trillion dollars in assets on the day of 911 and it's financial aftermath That's going to kinda make a dent in your budget don't you think ? Oh nevermind, I forgot, 911 was also Bush's fault too *rolls eyes*

I'm not weighing into the Democratic / Republican debate. I am stating the GWB was an ignorant, short-sighted leader who thought that 'character' is a substitute for reason.

Translation: I'm neutral, but I'm DIRECTING quoting word for word the exact same thing the Democrats painted Bush as.

No offense, but if I were you I wouldn't go around calling other people ignorant when your arguments are spoonfed to you.

RE: the letters
By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2010 7:31:16 PM , Rating: 4

Whoa I was way off. 911 actually cost the United States more like TWO trillion dollars.

RE: the letters
By thurston on 4/14/10, Rating: 0
RE: the letters
By psychmike on 4/14/2010 10:46:59 PM , Rating: 3
I can see that. It's incredible, I have very intelligent fiscal and social conservative friends who think very lowly of GWB. Even before 9/11, Bush was pushing unsustainable tax cuts for the top 1% while increasing federal spending. He pushed for unprecedented power for the Federal government including warrantless wire taps. This is freedom?? This is protection from power?? But never mind, let's keep things simple. There are good guys and bad guys and the people who disagree with me are simply ignorant.

RE: the letters
By Reclaimer77 on 4/14/2010 11:08:43 PM , Rating: 2
The only way we can have "unsustainable" tax cuts is if you are actually thick enough to believe tax cuts are ever a bad thing. Or that the government REALLY needs this much money to keep running. I mean honestly, what kind of moron is actually FOR more taxes ??? Oh that's right, Obama voters. (aka people who don't pay them anyway)

And maybe your "conservative" friends are damn idiots. Because Bush specifically CREATED a new tax bracket just for the middle class, not top 1%. HE cut taxes for EVERYONE !

I have very intelligent fiscal and social conservative friends who think very lowly of GWB.

Because he worked with Democrats. Pushed for Amnesty for Illegals etc etc. I certainly hope it's not because he gave tax relief to Americans.

There are good guys and bad guys and the people who disagree with me are simply ignorant.

Maybe we're just fucking sick and tired of hearing about and talking about George Bush ??? Obama has been President for two years, sorry, but you can only blame the other guy for so long. It's OLD, it's not genuine or honest at all, and it's VERY unbecoming to the Office of the President of the United States to cop out and blame your predecessor for every so called problem you have to deal with. It's even worse to blame Bush as an excuse to pass a sweeping socialist agenda because the average American is too goddamn stupid to see what's really happening.

Republicans in Congress HAVE NO VOTING POWER. They cannot stop ANYTHING. So if everything Bush did was so freaking terrible, then why isn't Obama and the lib' Congress REPEALING what Bush did ? They have the votes, they have the political capitol. Who's going to stop them ? Why hasn't the Patriot Act been repealed ? I'll tell you why, because you can bet your ASS Obama has no problem with having the power to wiretap without warrants either!

RE: the letters
By Nfarce on 4/15/2010 12:20:02 AM , Rating: 2
Give it up, RC77 - when the Middle East war breaks out, and when we see inflation choke the economy, you can bet that the current administration and other incompetents in Congress running things as well as the DNC media and various mindless lemmings supporting both (oh that nasty Faux News) will attempt to blame Bush for it all.

Just sit back and sadly watch.

RE: the letters
By Anoxanmore on 4/15/2010 10:21:53 AM , Rating: 2

Did 2010 end while I was sleeping? Jan is the take over date from the last President and unless I am WAY off on elementary schooling, 2009 was when it started. So.. One year and 4 months.

Looks around

It is still APRIL of 2010 right?

RE: the letters
By Nfarce on 4/15/2010 10:36:42 AM , Rating: 3
Well, one year and three months in the White house to be exact next week.

But Democrats have controlled the purse strings of Congress for three years and three months now. How much longer Americans are going to put up with the cronyism, fascism, and incompetence remains to be seen. The mid-term 2010 elections this November will be a good start.

RE: the letters
By Anoxanmore on 4/15/2010 10:55:47 AM , Rating: 2
I would agree with you, except we have no one running against our incumbent representative... :(


RE: the letters
By ekv on 4/15/2010 2:17:28 PM , Rating: 2
If you're a conservative -- fiscally, perhaps even socially -- then you may have my vote. Catch my drift?

Vote yourself a pay reduction -- even 10% -- and you definitely have my vote.

RE: the letters
By thurston on 4/15/2010 2:48:34 PM , Rating: 2
I mean honestly, what kind of moron is actually FOR more taxes ???

The kind of moron that likes to drive on roads and have police and fire protection.

RE: the letters
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2010 3:18:30 PM , Rating: 2
Let me give you a real world example to illustrate my point, and also how stupid you are.

Right here in Charlotte North Carolina they are claiming they "have" to fire hundreds of teachers because they don't have the tax money to keep them employed. They claim, with absolute certainty, that there is "NO fat" left to cut in the budget.

Last month the City of Charlotte purchased six large "art" rocks, at two HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS a piece, to be placed along the new greenway of West Boulevard. For looks, that's it, nothing more. Art.

So you were saying ??

RE: the letters
By thurston on 4/15/2010 3:36:26 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't know Charlotte had their own school system. Most schools are not funded with city taxes.

RE: the letters
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2010 4:24:41 PM , Rating: 2
What !???!?

RE: the letters
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2010 4:42:21 PM , Rating: 2
Oh you mean county ? Well it's the Charlotte-Mecklenburg county school system. Which is actually too big, one of the largest in the nation.

RE: the letters
By paulpod on 4/14/10, Rating: 0
RE: the letters
By Nfarce on 4/14/2010 10:28:49 PM , Rating: 5
This country has done nothing but cut taxes since the seventies and has cut taxes most on the ultra-rich.

If that were really true, then maybe you can 'splain to the rest of us how since the 1980s the share of personal income taxes paid by US households/filers in the top 10% of income earning slot has increased to over 70% (up from 48% since 1980). And people say that category (the evil rich) don't pay enough?

Dunno about everyone else, but I'm all ears for a response on this one.

RE: the letters
By bigdawg1988 on 4/15/2010 9:04:55 AM , Rating: 1
Maybe you ought to check the links below. The top 10% may pay more taxes than in 1980, but they also earn a lot more than in 1980 (68% now vs 32% 1980), that's why they pay more. But the actual tax rate has declined. Nice of the Heritage foundation (bunch of rich-loving folk) to skip that part.
Heck, when dudes like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett say the tax rate for the wealthy should be increased that says a lot.

RE: the letters
By Nfarce on 4/15/2010 10:33:25 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah - you whine about a Heritage link and then give me a liberal New York Slimes link. Funny.

1) I don't care what Buffet and Gates think. I care what I PAY .

2) The income gap between the rich and the poor as a percentage is a red herring argument. The productive PRODUCE and the non-productive DO NOT PRODUCE. It's that simple. If you go back and look again, you can see that EVERY income earner's tax percentages paid as a whole have gone up - except those at the bottom 50%.

3) I'll ask you since nobody else seems to want to answer: exactly HOW MUCH is enough to pay in income taxes as a percentage of a group? Say top 10%, top 25%, and bottom 50% for starters. And you also have to remember those upper tiers have investments and other sources of income as well, not just payroll.

Here's another link:

RE: the letters
By thurston on 4/14/2010 8:00:54 PM , Rating: 1
The world’s best-known astronaut, who has traditionally avoided controversy and rarely seeks the limelight despite his feat 41 years ago, warned that Mr Obama risks blasting American space superiority on a “long downhill slide to mediocrity”.

With the utmost respect I think Neil Armstrong should have more faith in the American private sector.

RE: the letters
By drycrust3 on 4/15/2010 4:49:08 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know what 2 letters you were thinking of, and I hate to say it, but ever since America was heavily in debt it was on its way to mediocrity, it didn't need any help from Obama. As they say, you can't drink champagne on a beer budget.

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