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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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Biased history
By PrinceGaz on 4/15/2010 9:37:46 AM , Rating: 2
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.

Whilst the USSR did not land a man on the Moon, they were the first to achieve most of the early goals in space exploration with both manned missions as well as with unmanned probes. In the 70's and 80's, the USA were ahead with probes to other planets but the USSR were back in front on manned missions with its series of Salyut space-stations which provided much of the basis for the current ISS. Overall I'd say the USA and USSR were pretty even overall.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, both countries have continued to have their strengths and weaknesses in terms of what they can launch and they have been co-operating to make best use of their respective strengths, along with Europe, and now increasingly China and India (and possibly Japan).

To say "America has been the leading spacefaring nations on the planet since the early days of space travel" is wrong both factually and grammatically.

RE: Biased history
By jrb531 on 4/15/2010 12:39:51 PM , Rating: 2
Don't you mean...

The USSR's "German" Scientists from WWII beat the USA's "German" Scientists from WWII in the early days :)

RE: Biased history
By PrinceGaz on 4/15/2010 7:23:13 PM , Rating: 2
If you read the time line of important developments in space exploration, you'll see that the USA and USSR were fairly equal overal until the 1980's when they stoppped competing with each other and instead co-operated with each other for the greater good.

It's rather ironic that the greater good for advancement of space technology would have been achieved if the cold-war space-race had continued as that was the only way the vast amounts of resources needed to sustain it could be justified by either side.

RE: Biased history
By monkeyman1140 on 4/16/2010 5:17:25 PM , Rating: 2
The Soviets had a moon lander and a moon rocket. The technical failures of the overly-complex N1 rocket scuttled their moon shot effort.

I always wondered why the Soviets went for a big rocket. They could have done the mission with smaller ones and assembled the service, engine and lander modules while in earth orbit.

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