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Obama expects to be around to see man walk on Mars

The U.S. manned space flight programs were dealt a serious blow when Obama announced plans to go back to the moon were being shelved due to budget cuts and cost overruns. The budget cuts meant that the Constellation program would be cancelled.

The outcry against the President's plan was swift from space program supporters and NASA. Obama quickly began to take steps to alter his plans and called for the Orion crew module originally planned as the shuttle replacement to be scaled back and used as a lifeboat for the ISS. Obama had announced that he would talk about his plans for NASA and the space program in Florida earlier this week.

Obama has now aired his plans, clarifying some points and helping to dress wounds caused when he originally announced his plans for NASA. Obama's plan still calls for a scaled back Constellation program that would see the program continue, but only as a shadow of its former self. The changes still mean thousands in the space industry will be left jobless.

The shuttle fleet is set to retire this year with only three more scheduled flights remaining for the fleet with the last scheduled for September. Obama has promised additional funds to allow NASA padding if a launch has to be rescheduled due to weather. Some hope that the extra funds can instead be used to fund an extra mission.

Once the shuttle fleet is retired, getting astronauts to and from the ISS will be left to the Russian Soyuz spacecraft at a cost of about $50 million per round trip.

Obama sees the future of U.S. space flight in the hands of private companies. Obama wants a new industry that will see private companies offering transportation services to NASA rather than the vehicles themselves.

Obama said, "The new plan is to harness our nation's unparalleled system of free enterprise (as we have done in all other modes of transport), to create far more reliable and affordable rockets."

San Francisco Chronicle reports that Obama foresees manned missions to near Earth asteroids and perhaps even Mars in his lifetime.

Obama said, "[By 2025 the U.S. will have a new spacecraft] designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the moon into deep space." He continued saying, "We'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history," he said. "By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow. And I expect to be around to see it."

Obama said of a return trip to the moon, "We've been there before." Obama's plans for the space program still need the approval of Congress. Many lawmakers still plan to fight to keep the jobs that Obama's new budget will cut in their home districts. Obama's plans would see 2,500 jobs added in the Florida "Space Coast" by 2012. Thousands will still be unemployed due to the budget cuts.

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As much as I like NASA....
By etherreal on 4/16/2010 12:25:22 PM , Rating: 5
What we really need more than anything right now is a balanced budget amendment. Once we clean up the excesses of the last 60 years, then we can start thinking about our budget priorities, like NASA and Universal Health Care.

RE: As much as I like NASA....
By mindless1 on 4/16/2010 12:53:12 PM , Rating: 2

Everyone seems to keep forgetting you can't spend your way out of a hole. You can gamble (and odds are you end up losing in the long run), or build up infrastructure that appreciates in value over time.

Otherwise, funding of everything needs scaled back to a point where the economy can at least stabilize... even if we can never afford the interest on the debt(!!).

RE: As much as I like NASA....
By Kurz on 4/16/2010 1:22:11 PM , Rating: 2
The only reason we have a debt in the first place is because of one thing. The Federal reserve.

Scratch that out no more debt that the Government can aque.

That is the only way to balance the budget.

The problem is systematic not regulatory.

RE: As much as I like NASA....
By Seemonkeyscanfly on 4/16/2010 5:50:17 PM , Rating: 2
Balance budget does not really work. Clinton had that and the debt went up a lot under him. Saying, "Hey, we now have a budget of 3 trillion dollars" is not going to solve problems. What we need to do for probably 10 years is simply spend 10% less then the tax money collected. Use the 10% to pay down the debt, then create an amendment saying the government can not spend more then what is brought in. It should be common sense not to spend more then you have and their for a waste of an amendment, but since we put lawyers into office verse business men the problem just grows.

RE: As much as I like NASA....
By voronwe on 4/17/2010 3:11:53 AM , Rating: 2
Balance budget does not really work. Clinton had that and the debt went up a lot under him.

No, it didn't.

Do your research before you post. I've noticed several other inaccurate posts tonight by Seemonkeyscanfly (and at least a dozen other people).

RE: As much as I like NASA....
By Reclaimer77 on 4/18/2010 1:43:30 PM , Rating: 2
Clinton's "balanced budget" is a myth. The government can have a surplus even if it has trillions in debt, but it cannot have a surplus if that debt increased every year.

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