This could still happen in 2020 (NASA)

Obama Will Retire Shuttle in 2010, US Will Go Back to the Moon in 2020

Article Updated: 26 Apr , 2016

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[/caption]In a budget blueprint released by the White House on Thursday, President Barack Obama has confirmed his intent to carry out the planned retirement of the ageing Space Shuttle next year. Additionally, the the blueprint affirms Obama’s stance on a return trip to the Moon. The US will return to the lunar surface by the year 2020, following the time scale set out by George W. Bush’s 2004 Vision for Space Exploration. However, there is no mention that the next manned lunar mission will be carried out by the Constellation Program, a project plagued by criticism about its design and technology.

Although the blueprint may differ from the final budget submitted to Congress in April, it looks like there is some certainty about the future of the shuttle and the direction NASA will be taking over the next decade. And now the space agency has a little bit more money to do something about that troublesome 5-year gap in US manned access to space

So, any hope to extend the life of the Shuttle looks to have been dashed. Although there could still be a chance for a shuttle extension when the final budget is submitted, it seems as if President Obama has made his intent very clear; the 25 year-old space launch system will be mothballed, as planned, in 2010. This may come as a relief to many as extending the operational lifetime of the shuttle could be a safety risk, however, many on Florida’s Space Coast won’t be so happy as they could be looking at losing their jobs sooner than they would have hoped.

Generally, these decisions have been welcomed, including the extra $2.4 billion NASA will receive for the 2010 fiscal year (when compared with 2008):

Combined with $1 billion provided to NASA in the $787 billion stimulus package signed into law Feb. 17, the agency would receive $2 billion more than in the $17.7 billion 2009 NASA budget that was passed by the House – an increase that equals an Obama campaign promise. — Florida Today

It remains uncertain how the gap between shuttle retirement and Constellation launch could be shortened from the minimum of five years, but the extra cash is bound to boost confidence. But where does the blueprint say Constellation is even part of the plan? It doesn’t, sparking some media sources to point out that it remains a possibility that the Ares rocket system could be abandoned in favour of making the existing Atlas V or Delta IV rockets human rated. However, space policy specialists are advising not to read too much into the omission.

The budget doesn’t say a whole lot about any specific system,” said John Logsdon, a space policy analyst at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC. “I wouldn’t interpret the absence of the words ‘Constellation’, ‘Ares’, and ‘Orion’ one way or another. That’s really up to the the new management team, when it gets there.”

After all, since the departure of Michael Griffin as NASA Administrator, the space agency has been without a leader. Acting NASA Administrator Christopher Scolese is currently at the helm, saying that the new budget “is fiscally responsible and reflects the administration’s desire for a robust and innovative agency.” Unfortunately the details about the use of Constellation may remain sketchy until the final budget is submitted.

This may be the case, but President Obama has obviously seen the merit in the original plans to get man back to the Moon by the year 2020, despite criticism from a guy who has actually stood on the Moon, Buzz Aldrin. In an “alternative” proposal for the future of NASA, Aldrin and two co-authors posted a draft of the “Unified Space Vision” on the National Space Society’s website this week (Update: the draft has now been “Removed At Request of the Authors”), urging the administration not to mount an unnecessary lunar mission (been there, done that) and go straight for manned exploration of the asteroids and Mars. The Unified Space Vision, unfortunately, was probably too hard on NASA’s accomplishments, saying that “post-Apollo NASA” has become a “visionless jobs-providing enterprise that achieves little or nothing,” in developing a viable space transportation system. Many of the points raised are valid (and occasionally very tough), but would require a complete change in NASA’s structure to accomplish. I doubt we’ll see any radical changes being enacted any time soon.

So, we now have a pretty good idea as to what’s going to happen to the shuttle next year; it looks like the plan to get the US back to the Moon by 2020 is still on and NASA has been given an extra $2 billion to play with. I hope they spend it wisely, perhaps on private space launch contracts?

Sources: Florida Today, New Scientist


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newpapyrus
Member
February 27, 2009 2:11 AM

The Ares V is essential if America is to be capable of placing large payloads into Earth orbit and on the moon. The Ares V would have cut the cost of the ISS dramatically.

The real problem, IMO, is still getting humans cheaply and safely into orbit and back, of course, on the Earth’s surface. I’d love to see the Obama administration take a second look at the Delta Clipper program which could have reduced labor cost for maintaining and launching the reusable vehicle– dramatically.

Salacious B. Crumb
Guest
Salacious B. Crumb
February 27, 2009 2:21 AM

Good news. Barring any unforeseen mishap, my bet is that America with go back to the moon in 2024, and that the Chinese will get there earlier in 2022.
It will be interesting to know where the landing site(s) will be, and the images of other parts of the lunar surface. (For me I hope it is near a significant crater and particularly near Schroter’s Valley and the Cobra’s head.
The greatest concern is the origin of the finance to continue to fund the project, and the worrying ever increasing debt of the U.S. economy.

robbi
Guest
robbi
February 27, 2009 3:16 AM

Salacious B. Crumb – I am also quite worried about funding for the project, if the funds are
going to come from doing cutbacks on very important space research sattillites and other space related items?!?Manned missions to the Moon and back is ultra expensive and will not be routine for the rest of the century and into the next!!!! I believe the US should team up with China and other very interested nations for such costly missions.

BAUT means uninformed and low IQ
Guest
February 27, 2009 3:50 AM
Back in 1961, JFK said “we are going to put a man on the Moon by the end of this decade”, and supposedly so, USA did put a man on the Moon in 1969… But now, Bush junior said in 2004 “we are going to put a man on the Moon in 2016”, and now Bin Obama says “we are not going to put a man on the Moon by 2016, but only by 2020″… Now I wonder if those Conspiracy theorists are right, that in fact we never put a man on the Moon in 1969, because it does not makes sense at all that 40 years ago people had more capability, will, to put a man… Read more »
Spoodle58
Member
February 27, 2009 4:10 AM

BAUT means uninformed and low IQ Says:
“Looks like Conspiracy Theorists are correct in this case.”

I have some colourful metaphors I would love to use for that comment.

The main reason it is going to take so long to prepare this time around is because everything to do be done has to be super safe and on a small budget, now in the 60’s there was plenty of money and minimum safety regulations.

David R.
Member
David R.
February 27, 2009 4:44 AM

The largest debtor nation on earth including more money for a moon program does not correspond with certainty.

Dominion
Member
February 27, 2009 5:26 AM

I’d like to see Obama’s plan to clean up orbital debris.

HeadAroundU
Guest
HeadAroundU
February 27, 2009 5:32 AM

Well, if we are going to the moon again, build a huge outpost there. Let’s start seriously colonizing it.

I’m not kidding. :/

John M.
Guest
John M.
February 27, 2009 7:27 AM

While I’m all about the cool video we will get out of it, explain to me again the scientific purpose of returning men to the moon?

I figured that since this was a Bush program, Obama would kill it.

Kevin F.
Member
February 27, 2009 9:04 AM

@Mr. Greenjeans

We’re throwing 800 billion at financial institutions who should have known how to handle money in the first place. 2 billion for the space program is a pittance compared to that… or should we drop our financial sector for being a waste of money?

byron
Guest
byron
February 27, 2009 4:26 PM

Going to the moon is simply re-proving our technology and hopefully not delaying further steps by another 60 years.

To infinity and beyond!

Joe
Guest
Joe
February 27, 2009 12:27 PM

Nasa should look into mining the moon for helium-3, any thing that can be brought back to earth or used on the moon expansion and profit. (cover the cost part)
At the same time setup few telescopes to observe the universe and observe earth as well, what ever the study is….(Science part)
I believe any moon base we setup should be underground for better protection. Instead of sending bulldozers send drilling machines to create the caves etc….
All this will come true if we can develop a safe, cheap and reliable way to get off the surface of Earth.

Joe.TO.

robbi
Guest
robbi
February 27, 2009 3:06 PM
Baut=When JFK made the 1961 speech, the US was still far,far ahead of any other Nation on Earth In GDP with the exception of USSR which was still smaller. The US just went throught the 1950’s with ultra-low inflation or actually in 1954 inflation was a negative figure and the US still producted more oil than consuming. The US was scared of USSR space achievements in 1961 as they were quite ahead of the US, and at the time it was thought the USSR had more nuclear warheads and delivery systems. It did not take long to get the US populous behind JFK in the space race to the Moon. By the 4rd 5th Apoll Mission the Americans… Read more »
robbi
Guest
robbi
February 27, 2009 4:00 PM

addendum=correction I’ve should have said the US buget had spending for Interest for Borrowing is about 24% of the total budget , the budget as a % of military spending I don’t know, I am using figures I still have on my memory and from about 4 years ago as I did not as yet look thru the ‘net to see the newest budget. I am scared to see what it is today!!!!!!

Maxwell
Member
Maxwell
February 27, 2009 4:37 PM
Honestly I feel RLV’s are better left cooking in the hands of the military. We need the mil-industrial technical ability and we need people of focused aggression to hammer this thing into line. What we don’t need is just another spaceship. We need one that can be mass produced, soldier proofed, turned around quickly on a dirt airfield in Zimbabwe and rated for flight in all weather conditions. Failing to get that, returning to the moon sounds like the best possible goal. Vaun Braun was forced to give up on moon exploration just to meet the landing deadline. So the US of all nations has many good reasons to return. Maybe in the process of learning to live… Read more »
David R.
Member
David R.
February 27, 2009 5:52 PM

@ Kevin F:

Where the US spent the money is irrelevant. Notice the past tense. They spent it. It’s gone. Future spending based on money that isn’t there is stupid, a bad example, irresponsible, and does nothing to inspire confidence. Arguments about bailouts are irrelevant. Balancing the books is all that matters….or at least that’s what every family in the world learns unless it likes inviting debt collectors over for dinner.

Kevin F.
Member
February 27, 2009 5:59 PM

Ok, so your issue is with a nation being in debt, not the space program then.

Frank Glover
Guest
Frank Glover
February 27, 2009 7:50 PM
“Now I wonder if those Conspiracy theorists are right, that in fact we never put a man on the Moon in 1969, because it does not makes sense at all that 40 years ago people had more capability, will, to put a man on the Moon…” It may not make sense, but that doesn’t keep it from being true. No public support for continued manned Lunar exploration, no money for same from Congress. Likewise, no money for serious development work in the interim on how better to go back. There’s no need to invoke conspiracies, because you’re right. The will and capability were indeed NOT there anymore. Lyndon Johnson said at the time as Apollo wound down (quoting… Read more »
David R.
Member
David R.
February 28, 2009 6:29 AM

@ Kevin F:

Yes, absolutely. I would like nothing better than to see the US spend even more than all the bailouts combined on “all things space.”

Unfortunately, debt overshadows this.

Ding Williams
Guest
Ding Williams
February 28, 2009 7:36 AM

Yes the shuttle should be retired and we should start going back to the moon. This is what makes America Great

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