Apr 17, 2010

Science Scene - NASA's Future

I know that there has been a lot of coverage the past few days, but just in case you missed it, here is a high level look at the new direction.  I think it makes good sense in the current economic environment, going to the moon [Alice :o)] can be done by private enterprise.  We need to go where no man has gone before [could not resist].

NASA's Orion crew capsule, which was part of the cancelled Constellation program, has been revived as an escape pod for the International Space Station. A smaller version of the capsule could launch on an Atlas or Delta rocket and eliminate the need to buy a multimillion-dollar Russian Soyuz spacecraft for emergency crew escape, Florida Today reports.

President Obama's plan for the U.S. space agency would also make a commitment to a specific heavy-lift launch rocket by 2015. That rocket would have the ability to send missions beyond Earth orbit to destinations that might include Mars.

The president's budget scrapped NASA's original plan to return humans to the moon within the decade, and has refocused the space agency on developing technologies for space exploration beyond Earth orbit. It also supports commercial launches by the private space industry to deliver cargo and crew to the space station.

Obama will also announce plans on Thursday to bring 2,500 more jobs to Florida's Space Coast than the cancelled NASA moon program. That could help soothe the sting of more than 8,000 jobs lost at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida due to the impending shutdown of NASA's shuttle program and the demise of Project Constellation.

Another part of the president's plan puts $2 billion over the next five years toward making Kennedy Space Center a 21st century spaceport with lower launch costs for private companies and the U.S. Department of Defense. Obama added the goal of making Florida's I-4 corridor the "Silicon Valley of Space," Florida Today notes.

Those sound like sweet words to our ears, if the plan can really pull that off. We're not complaining about NASA's future including some robo-astronauts, either.



  1. Yes, I think the President's plan is a sound one. Of course, Florida Teabaggers were up in arms because he wasn't spending more money to keep the status quo. They went totally against their otherwise antispending theme. But as you say, President Obama's plan will actually create more jobs and stabilize the space alley down there. It makes sense to leave what we already know and spend our innovation money on new innovations. I am glad you posted this because it is a really cool development.

  2. Roboastronauts?!? Somehow it won't have the same sting when Hal is arguing with a Robot.

  3. I have a cousin that works at NASA in Huntsville. I hope all works out.

  4. I mean I am level headed enough to 'get it'. But when I see the privatization of space travel, I also see potential abuses. It makes me think of how war has been privatized and military action is a convenient cover for 'hessian troops' to reap rewards under the name of 'patriotism'.

  5. It is a good plan overall Ken. That only part I'm not 100% sold on is the insistence that private companies be brought in to take in slack and further development and research. I wouldn't have a problem with that concept, if we could be sure that the companies would be working for our interests. History has given us good reasons to be cautious about any company's intent.


Tell Me What You Think, Don't Make me go Rogue on you :o)