Re: Mixed feelings
- From: Jack Linthicum <jacklinthicum@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 28 Jan 2010 13:09:40 -0800 (PST)
On Jan 28, 4:06 pm, "dott.Piergiorgio"
Frogwatch ha scritto:
News that Obama essentially intends to cancel the US manned space
program tonight leaves me with somewhat mixed feelings. On one hand
it is sad that the most technically advanced nation cannot afford this
kind of exploration and on the other I know NASA has not done very
well in keeping costs down.
do you have (news, not blogs) links to this rumour ?
Best regards from Italy,
Local paper, Cape is in this paper's area
January 28, 2010
Despite expected budget infusion, thousands at KSC lose
BY TODD HALVORSON and BART JANSEN
President Barack Obama will ask Congress to extend International Space
Station operations through at least 2020 but abandon NASA's current
plans to return U.S. astronauts to the moon, administration and NASA
officials said Wednesday.
The president's 2011 budget request, due to be delivered to Congress
on Monday, will direct NASA to invest in the development of U.S.
commercial space taxi services to ferry American astronauts to and
from the station.
The move is meant to reduce reliance on Russian crew transportation
services after the retirement of America's aging shuttle fleet.
The administration will provide for a safe fly-out of five remaining
shuttle missions -- even if the final flights slip into 2011. But an
option to extend shuttle operations through 2015 is being cast aside,
officials said. Obama's aim is to turn NASA once again into "an engine
for innovation," one that will spur the development of commercial
industry in low Earth orbit.
The focus will be on developing technologies that would enable
sustainable human expeditions beyond Earth orbit. But those journeys
are not likely to take place before the early 2020s.
Despite a fiscal freeze on most discretionary programs, NASA's budget
will be increased by $6 billion over the next five years for a total
of $100 billion.
"Budgets are very tight," said former astronaut Sally Ride, who served
on a presidential panel that determined NASA's current Project
Constellation -- the post-shuttle program -- is on "an unsustainable
"For NASA to be getting new money over the projections is to me an
indication of how seriously this administration takes NASA and our
goal of future innovations for this country."
The administration hopes to create 1,700 jobs in Florida and 5,000
jobs nationwide, helping to offset an anticipated loss of 7,000 jobs
at Kennedy Space Center after the shuttle program's shutdown.
But some in Congress are not happy.
"My biggest fear is that this amounts to a slow death of our nation's
human spaceflight program, a retreat from America's decades of
leadership in space, ending the economic advantages that our space
program has brought to the U.S. and ceding space to the Russians,
Chinese and others," said U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge.
"Until we have a clearer plan for the future, the only realistic and
reasonable way to preserve America's leadership in space is to provide
for a temporary extension of the shuttle," he said.
NASA since 2004 has invested $9 billion in developing the
Constellation program's Ares I and Ares V rockets and the Apollo-style
Orion crew capsule for missions to the moon, Mars and, in the event no
commercial means becomes available, the International Space Station.
The agency also planned to develop a rocket stage to propel astronauts
from low Earth to lunar orbit, and a lunar lander dubbed Altair.
The idea was to return American astronauts to the moon by 2020. But
the presidential panel convened by Obama to review NASA's plans
determined that a human lunar return was unlikely before 2028.
The panel favored the development of commercial crew transportation
services, a move that would be a radical shift in national space
policy. NASA since the late 1950s has developed rockets and spacecraft
flown by U.S. astronauts.
"We really do believe it is time for American companies to come into
this program in a way that they have on the cargo side for decades
now," a senior NASA official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"This is a serious, serious effort that we believe will reduce the
gap" between shuttle retirement and the first flights of successor
craft, the official said.
So, what does all this mean for KSC? Here are some of the
# Commercial crew taxi services: One of the two companies now under
NASA contract to launch cargo to the International Space Station --
SpaceX -- will be operating at Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air
A competition presumably would be held to select a company to provide
commercial crew transportation services, and it's almost certain that
KSC and Cape Canaveral would be among the launch sites considered.
Senior administration officials said the commercial launch services --
both cargo and crew -- are expected to result in more new jobs and a
higher launch rate on the Space Coast.
A higher launch rate would be good for business throughout Brevard
County, particularly in the tourist industry.
# Extending space station operations through 2020: NASA officials,
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Orlando, and others aim to secure payload
processing business for extended station operations.
Scientific experiments and cargo all must be prepped for launch, and
it makes sense to locate that business near the launch site.
# No moon missions: The Obama administration aims to ramp up NASA's
technology development programs, which have atrophied over the last
several years, and make "strategic investments" at KSC, according to a
senior administration space policy adviser.
The idea is to turn KSC into a "launch complex of the future," making
it increasingly attractive to commercial space launch companies, the
Technology development efforts, some of which might focus on building
heavy-lift launch vehicles, would be conducted at KSC along with other
endeavors that would enable eventual human expeditions beyond Earth
Obama's space plan will be a hard sell in Congress. Even ardent Obama
supporters and some key space advisers are taken aback.
"If some of the reports about the president's plans for NASA's budget
are correct, it would decimate the space program," a Nelson spokesman
NASA's planned return to the moon is behind schedule because about $12
billion budgeted for the project was not appropriated by Congress
during the past six years.
But Project Constellation enjoys strong bipartisan support in both the
U.S. House and the Senate, and Congress will have a big say in the
plan for NASA.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee passed legislation in
December that requires broader congressional approval to change NASA's
existing exploration program.
"I think that's the intent of the language," said U.S. Rep. Suzanne
Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach. "It does give us hopefully some ability to
Posey said, "This issue is far from over."
Contact Halvorson at 639-0576 or thalvorson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Jansen
reported from Washington.
NASA clears shuttle for Feb. 7 launch
NASA set Feb. 7 as the firm launch date for shuttle Endeavour and a
mission to the International Space Station at the conclusion of an
executive-level flight readiness review Wednesday at Kennedy Space
Endeavour and six astronauts are slated to blast off from launch pad
39A at 4:39 a.m., the middle of a 10-minute opportunity to put the
shuttle on course for a rendezvous with the station.
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