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.
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."The 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.
quote: Afghanistan is a legitimate war, not Iraq.
quote: Poor little thing, that intel was all crap created by the Bush administration to justify the Iraq war.
quote: War in Iraq probably created ( will create ) more terrorists than it neutralized.
quote: US were much safer with Saddam Hussein in place.