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Obama to Unveil “Ambitous” Plan for NASA

8 Mar , 2010 by

President Obama will travel to Florida to unveil an “ambitious plan for NASA that sets the agency on a reinvigorated path of space exploration,” according to a press release from the White House. The President will host a conference on April 15, inviting space officials and leaders to discuss the new budget and plan for NASA and the future of U.S. leadership in human space flight. The location was not yet disclosed, but it likely will be at Kennedy Space Center.

Specifically, the conference will focus on the goals and strategies, the next steps, and the new technologies, new jobs, and new industries it will create, the White House said. Conference topics will include the implications of the new strategy for Florida, the nation, and our ultimate activities in space.

The proposed plan for NASA, which includes cutting the Constellation program to return to the Moon, has drawn extreme reactions — both praise and harsh criticism since first announced on Feb. 1, 2010. Most agreed, however, that the plan was short on details as to destinations and how we might get there.

After the Augustine Commission found that Constellation program was “fundamentally un-executable,” Obama’s new plan cancels the Ares rockets but add $6 billion for NASA over the next five years.

“This funding will help us achieve our boldest aspirations in space,” the White House said in the press release. “The President’s ambitious new strategy pushes the frontiers of innovation to set NASA on a more dynamic, flexible, and sustainable trajectory that can propel us on a new journey of innovation and discovery.”

But former astronaut Leroy Chiao, a member of the Augustine Commission said he was surprised Constellation was cut.

“I didn’t foresee the recent announcement of the cancellation of the NASA Orion crew exploration vehicle (CEV),” Chiao wrote in his blog,“the commercial option was for LEO access, not exploration. I expected that CEV, along with either a heavy lift vehicle, or a man-rated expendable launcher would serve as a complimentary system to commercial LEO efforts. Details of the US plans for the future of NASA human spaceflight remain to be revealed, but I remain cautiously optimistic. Sometimes it takes dramatic change, even temporary chaos, to affect the possibility of a quantum jump in improvement.”

There’s been much discussion about if this new “plan” means the end of human spaceflight as we know it. It might. But do we want to keep going with the status quo, or go in new directions? Hopefully the April 15 conference will provide the details everyone is craving. Change is hard, and certainly, not everyone will be satisfied.

Now, we just need to wait….

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By  -        
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.



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Aqua4U
Member
March 8, 2010 10:50 AM

CrazyEddieB… “wow. 4 comments, and none related to space.” ROTFL! They DO have that trademark snear, now don’t they~

Potty level humor? I wonder what President B.O. thinks about GOES P?

THAT oughta keep em busy for a while…

Aqua4U
Member
March 8, 2010 11:06 AM

P. Obama has always had an ear for the military and for other techies. Yah gotta figure that the crew he hangs with have got the figures! AND that they might naught be laying all the cards on the table.. just yet…

His April 15th appearance SHOULD be some time after Space-X orbits they’re FIRE BREATHING Dragon. So we’ll have that, the ATV and the HTV and Progress to get to the ISS… THEN call Buzz and see what he thinks!

Homme du Sud
Member
Homme du Sud
March 8, 2010 9:09 AM
The grand delusion continues. Obama continues to search for monies to fund his social agenda. He can only do all of this by increasing taxes and start bleeding dry his allies and countries alike. (He even going to charge $US 10 for everyone that is non-American entering the US.) He also hopes that the war in Iraq ends, freeing funding to other endeavours that need funding. The US creates the financial crisis, now it is going to punish the rest of the world in spite of it. Who wants international cooperation in space, when the US is behaving like an irresponsible child whose plans are scattered to the four winds. I, for one, am starting to think I… Read more »
Dark Gnat
Member
Dark Gnat
March 8, 2010 9:30 AM
The US isn’t the sole cause of the financial meltdown. OPEC played a major role. The housing markets began to cumble because people were paying $4-$5/gal gas, and therefore could no longer afford their other bills, let alone consumer spending. The media simply pretends that high gas prices never happened or that it was a short term spike that had nothing to to with the recession. After looking at some of the major shareholders of certain media conglomerates, it’s no surprise. I do blame the federal government for not listening to it’s people and investing more in public transportation and not helping people to produce their own energy. I do agree that Obama is a short sighted idiot.… Read more »
Homme du Sud
Member
Homme du Sud
March 8, 2010 9:58 AM
“The US isn’t the sole cause of the financial meltdown.” Absolute bull. All the financial markets are linked to the US financial banking system, and the excess of the US cascaded throughout the world. Foreign investors got burnt and now all we hear is “its not my fault.” We we now see is that the “free market economy” now positioning itself to make the rest of the world drag it out of the economic mess it originally created. Then we hear the American Republic wants to work through international cooperation with everyone else, who happily also contributes to the goals in space, the find they can’t rely on the existing infrastructure – all because the American government seemingly… Read more »
Aodhhan
Member
Aodhhan
March 8, 2010 10:06 AM
The US Congress failed to pull back the actions of Fannie and Freddy, along with allowing big insurance and big banking to go unchecked, led to the latest financial fiasco. Partly because of democratic pressure on many banks to lend to individuals (mostly minorities) who didn’t have the means to pay back loans. This is one where the Democratic party screwed up, and attempted to deflect the crisis by blaming George Bush for the war. Although there is no denying the war costs a great deal, it isn’t the straw which broke the camels back. Then amplifying the problem, the Obama administration began spending money like MC Hammer; ignoring the future problem it is going to cause. Then… Read more »
CrazyEddieBlogger
Member
March 8, 2010 10:16 AM
wow. 4 comments, and none related to space. In the historical perspective, if Obama gets the Space initiative right, it will be the most important thing he can do. Everything else will wash away in less than a decade. VSE was empty promises – if you look at the details, it would not have gotten us into the solar system. I’d like it to stop thrasing and die already… I am waiting for said details. I’d like to see the US develop the technologies to go to Mars – we can’t do it on “Tried and True” shuttle derivatives. I’d like to see the launch business get commercialized. NASA’s launch business got very fat and ineffective – witness… Read more »
Aodhhan
Member
Aodhhan
March 8, 2010 10:18 AM
What affects other countries most when the US economy goes south is quite a few things. The biggest being investment… everybody drops off the markets because at first nobody knows who can stay afloat. This affects all markets in the world.. not just those at Wall and Broad streets. The other large part is American’s stop spending. We consume the goods of other countries like mad men. When goods aren’t being purchased, companies slow down, profits go bye-bye, people are laid off… and the snow ball gets bigger as it rolls down hill. In short… it all affects the value of the dollar… which is the central currency of the world. When it goes down, it doesn’t stand… Read more »
Aodhhan
Member
Aodhhan
March 8, 2010 10:25 AM
I too would like to see commercial business become more involved, in fact it is commercial business which should be working on space ventures in near Earth space. The problem is money and manned ventures. There is a big step in money needed between launching a space craft up 120km in space, and launching a space craft to complete one orbit, and then an even larger money step required to launch and maintain orbit. Once there…what do they do? Well… nothing which will further manned flight. we’ve pretty much mastered it. So the next step is the Moon….well, no company will be able to come up with the capital for it, even the capital to do the planning… Read more »
Homme du Sud
Member
Homme du Sud
March 8, 2010 10:58 AM
“No bucks, no Buck Rogers” It has already been pointed out; “Space exploration has become a global enterprise. Many nations have aspirations in space, and the combined annual budgets of the space programs of our principal partners are comparable to NASA’s. If the United States is willing to lead a global program of exploration, sharing both the burden and benefit of space exploration in a meaningful way, significant accomplishments could follow. Actively engaging international partners in a manner adapted to today’s multi-polar world could strengthen geopolitical relationships, leverage global financial and technical resources, and enhance the exploration enterprise.” Oh and; “”Whatever space program is ultimately selected, it must be matched with the resources needed for its execution.” Budget… Read more »
agmartin
Member
agmartin
March 8, 2010 11:19 AM

Yet another president to announce ambitious plans for NASA which will go nowhere because like the others he will leave the funding of those plans for his successor.

CrazyEddieBlogger
Member
March 8, 2010 11:39 AM

Well given that so far the budget is talking about MORE funding, and LESS Ares, I think the money will be there.

And Aqua – yes – It’s not only SpaceX’s Falcon/Dragon, it’s what this will do to LMCO and Boeing, who given the right environment can also be competitive.

Greg
Member
Greg
March 8, 2010 11:58 AM
Cutting the manned aspect of the space program is a mistake. It is too early to rely on commercial ventures to get astronauts into space safely. I think that as a practical reality is at least 10 to 20 years off. Once cut, restarting a manned program will be even more expensive. Of course this will become necessary once the Chinese have landed on the moon and set up their base. Or if the Russians can no longer sustain their Soyuz program. But I guess this is a pattern for this administration to not have contigency plans layed out ahead of time, much like their health care bill. Another way of thinking about this is if they tld… Read more »
Aqua4U
Member
March 8, 2010 4:33 PM

Our technology now allows us to control sophisticated robotics remotely. Lets get some rovers up on the moon and take a look around. Lets use robots to set up oxygen and water extraction infrastructure. Lets mine some He3 and play with it…

Aqua4U
Member
March 8, 2010 4:46 PM

Use an ‘X-prise’-like competition as enticement? Guarantee the first to succeed the right to any profit for a period of time? Am SURE the lawyers could come up with something that would work? Donno if the axiom ‘The greater the risk the more the profit’,would hold true here? But the investment in possible profits might get the ball rolling?

Would it be worth try it to create a ‘land rush’ on the Moon?

Surak
Member
Surak
March 8, 2010 1:49 PM
Just imagine where the US space program would be if not for the TRILLIONS wasted thanks to of Bush’s financial collapse and Bush’s unjustified war on Iraq. We could have dozens of NASA’s all working on different problems related to getting us better established in space, each with bigger budgets than the current NASA. Oh wait, I forgot, the moment Obama was elected every problem, no matter it’s origin, instantly changed to have been created by him, and was declared to have started on the date of that election, because all republicans are perfect and never wasted a penny on anything. Damn teabaggers. The US will never do anything truly grand for the future of our species so… Read more »
ND
Member
ND
March 8, 2010 2:12 PM

An increase of gas prices to $4-$5/gal should not have caused so many people to lose their homes. It would have cost more per fill-up but not cause you to foreclose on one’s house. If it did then they were living beyond their means and the gas price increase was the straw that broke the came’s back. Note: I’m not talking about regular foreclosures that can happen even in the best of economies, due to medical emergencies etc. It was unchecked greed (lenders and those taking out the loans) that set up the bubble and the outcome.

Dark Gnat
Member
Dark Gnat
March 8, 2010 2:33 PM
Homme du Sud, where are you from? I’m not flaming, just curious. I can tell you from personal experience that when fuel prices skyrocketed (no pun intended) I had to cut way back on all of my spending, (still do) and many people I knew had to basically choose between gas and mortage payments. At least gas would get them to work. I’m sure others were in the same situation, and money became very tight. Lots of people defaulted on their loans, which resulted in banks, lenders, etc suddenly being in big trouble. Without oil, the economy would collapse. OPEC knows this, and they are not afraid to take advantage of it. We simply do not have affordable… Read more »
ZomZom
Member
ZomZom
March 8, 2010 3:05 PM

Obama eyes the national treasury primarily as a wealth-redistrubtion opportunity. As such, NASA is a jobs program for the educated class — namely, pointless. Everything in this man’s political history shows an interest in economic leveling and zero interest in space exploration. Ditto Nancy Pelosi.

I’ll be watching come April 15, but mostly because it’s tax day.

Andrew
Member
Andrew
March 8, 2010 3:21 PM

What’s with all of the political posturing on here?

I would like to see Obama propose a mission to create sustainable mining operations in space. That means asteroids. Mars will come afterward. The moon probably will come at the same time. If such an enterprise ever gets off the ground. Literally speaking.

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