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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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This fixes nothing
By toyotabedzrock on 4/14/2010 6:27:33 PM , Rating: 2
He really needs new NASA advisors, they gave him very bad advice. We are very far off from being able to get back off of mars. Going to the moon and establishing a base, and learning to use lunar resources is critical.

It also gives us the infrastructure we would need to intercept an asteroid.




RE: This fixes nothing
By thurston on 4/14/2010 8:06:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Going to the moon and establishing a base, and learning to use lunar resources is critical.


Maybe that would be a good thing for private industry to do.


RE: This fixes nothing
By Smilin on 4/16/2010 2:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
Learning to use lunar resources?

Why? If you are going to Mars or elsewhere in the solar system then there is another nearby planetary body with far more resources than the moon and that already has the infrastructure in place to gather those resources. It's called "Earth".

Why would I orbit, move, then land thousands of pounds of equipment just to extract some moon ice when there are rivers of flowing water right next door?

Having a moon base provides us no "leapfrog" abilities at all. You would be better off investing in a serious orbital station around the earth to leap from.

As for intercepting an asteroid, Constellation is utterly incapable. The new proposed plan is the one that allows for an asteroid landing.

His advisors gave him great advice when they told him to cancel constellation. It was a crap program even if it succeeded and by all measures it would go overbudget and fail.


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