President Obama's budget request for
2011 confirms these previous reports [PDF],
and anyone that was hoping that the U.S. would head back to the moon
at some point will have to instead set your sights on a further
target: Mars. NASA will not be receive the estimated $3 billion
yearly boost in funding needed to head back to the moon which
effectively kills off the Constellation
Program (the Ares I/Ares V booster rockets and the Orion crew
The following comes from the fiscal
2011 budget guidance:
The Administration proposes to
cancel the Constellation Systems program intended to return
astronauts to the Moon by 2020 and replaces it with a bold new
In place of Constellation, the
President’s Budget funds a redesigned and reinvigorated program
that focuses on leveraging advanced technology, international
partnerships, and commercial capabilities to set the stage for a
revitalized human space flight program for the 21st Century. The
President’s Budget will also increase NASA’s funding,
accelerating work -- constrained for years due to the budget demands
of Constellation -- on climate science, green aviation, science
education, and other priorities.
The Obama administration instead will
fund research into technology that would be used for a manned mission
to Mars. An estimated $6 billion will be dispersed to the private
sector to develop "space taxis" to ferry astronauts to the
International Space Station (ISS) and back.
The reaction to the Obama's
administrations decision to 1) axe a return trip to the moon in order
to focus on Mars and 2) look to the private sector for reusable space
vehicles has brought swift and furious reaction from some of those
with close ties to the American space program.
"I, for one, intend to stand up
and fight for NASA, and for the thousands of people who stand to lose
their jobs," said Senator Bill Nelson (Democrat, Florida).
Nelson served as a captain in the U.S. Army during the late 60s and
early 70s -- he also participated
in a 1986 space shuttle mission (STS-61C) as a payload
"It means that essentially the
U.S. has decided that they're not going to be a significant player in
human space flight for the foreseeable future," said former NASA
chief Michael Griffin. "The path that they're on with this
budget is a path that can't work."
Griffin also lambasted the move to use
commercial space vehicles, exclaiming, "One day it will be like
commercial airline travel, just not yet. It's like 1920. Lindbergh
hasn't flown the Atlantic, and they're trying to sell 747s to Pan
Not all reaction to the move has been
negative, however. Not surprisingly, Commercial Spaceflight
Federation (CSF) president Bretton Alexander championed
the move, stating, "NASA investment in the commercial
spaceflight industry is a win-win decision. Commercial crew will
create thousands of high-tech jobs in the United States, especially
in Florida, while reducing the spaceflight gap and preventing us from
sending billions to Russia."
The CSF is an industry association
committed to promoting the development and safety of commercial human
spaceflight. Some of the big names involved with the CSF include
Galactic, and Spaceport
Perhaps more poignantly, CSF executive
director John Gedmark remarked, "The Defense Department began
using commercial rockets a long time ago to launch priceless national
security satellites, that our troops' lives depend on. If the
Pentagon can trust private industry with this responsibility, we
think NASA can, too."
quote: Not all reaction to the move has been negative, however. Not surprisingly, Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) president Bretton Alexander championed the move, stating, "NASA investment in the commercial spaceflight industry is a win-win decision. Commercial crew will create thousands of high-tech jobs in the United States, especially in Florida, while reducing the spaceflight gap and preventing us from sending billions to Russia."
quote: Perhaps more poignantly, CSF executive director John Gedmark remarked, "The Defense Department began using commercial rockets a long time ago to launch priceless national security satellites, that our troops' lives depend on. If the Pentagon can trust private industry with this responsibility, we think NASA can, too
quote: In the recession-wracked economy of today, where exactly is the market for space travel?
quote: If robots were as good as people, we'd be using them as workers everywhere from your local barbershop and McDonalds up to doing open heart surgery.
quote: As another posted stated the US has other problems with the economy and war. And I agree we have other things to worry about right now than giving NASA a few billion dollars to send a person to a place we have already been to.
quote: Obama has destroyed the economy
quote: Tell me exactly how much more in taxes your paying as a direct result to the increased deficit?
quote: Nothing yet, because he's still racking up the charges.
quote: Which one has the sole power to levy taxes and to delare war?
quote: "My Property taxes nearly doubled before Obama ever took office but I guess that's his fault"Partly, yes. Property taxes exploded because of the real estate bubble. The real estate bubble existed because the federal government allowed Fanne Mae and Freddie Mac into the subprime mortgage market, which allowed millions of people to buy houses they couldn't afford. With couples making $50K a year buying houses $800K houses with zero money down, the market understandably exploded....then collapsed, as all those payors defaulted.Obama voted for all those programs in Congress..and he was one of the top three recipients of campaign contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. So much so that his own campaign advisor was former head of Fannie Mae.Oh, and before Obama became a congressman, he was an attorney that sued Citibank, in a landmark settlement that forced major banks to increase loans in low-income areas, under the CRA program:http://iusbvision.wordpress.com/2008/09/30/obama-s...
quote: Obama has destroyed the economy, and he promised that we would be out of the war as of his first year in office.
quote: Really? So the whole world wasn't already diving deep into recession already when he took office? Huh. I guess the endless news coverage of the economic collapse in 2008 was a figment of my imagination.
quote: Just curious, since from what I see here at AT/DT you are a "blame the libs at all cost" type. I dont agree with a lot of what the dems do, but at least I can remain objective about it...
quote: You may not agree with what he is doing now, but it was at its lowest as he took office.
quote: I would hope that with thier combined knowledge and with the help of universitities they could in a few years time solve the issue of gravity.
quote: If private sources can accomplish it on severly reduced budgets than NASA isnt doing isnt trying. Its like the mentality that if you throw enough money at something you can make it go away. They need to be smarter not costlier.
quote: What can we learn by taking that money and spending it on something else?
quote: Now, a manned mission to mars might be a completely different story, however, the moon is conquered, lets move on.
quote: Perhaps putting a man on mars/a colony on mars would be pretty interesting. It would require the tech to get off a planet with a significantly higher escape velocity then the moon, something I don't think our current rockets are capable of accomplishing (the landing is a bit rough as well). Other then the gee-whiz factor, what is there to be gained?
quote: We (the US as a family) need to get our feet back on solid ground, financially first.
quote: How many people (not just the folks on this thread) really cared so much about NASA's manned spaceflight program that they actually watched the last mission on TV?
quote: It's an abstract idea that, while inspiring on some level, does not make one bit of difference in their daily lives at the moment
quote: Why are so many people upset about this? It's not as if we're shutting down NASA. We're still funding research into a trip to Mars.
quote: (AP) Bulgaria's economic growth will remain among the highest in the EU...
quote: The extremely expensive development of 2 completely new rockets that used almost none of the available legacy hardware, manufacturing, and support infrastructure was just way too expensive to survive congressional budgets.
quote: Develop some sort of warp / hyper / tach drive that can take us to Mars and back in a day. That would be faster, safer and cheaper than using the same-ole 50 year old rocket tech.