Latest Buzz: NASA to Get Bigger Budget and New Launcher

Article written: 18 Dec , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
by

OK, I guess I was wrong yesterday when I said nothing happened during the meeting between President Obama and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. Science Magazine has now published this:

President Barack Obama will ask Congress next year to fund a new heavy-lift launcher to take humans to the moon, asteroids, and the moons of Mars, ScienceInsider has learned. The president chose the new direction for the U.S. human space flight program Wednesday at a White House meeting with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, according to officials familiar with the discussion. NASA would receive an additional $1 billion in 2011 both to get the new launcher on track and to bolster the agency’s fleet of robotic Earth-monitoring spacecraft.


If this is true, it would mean Ares would be scrapped for another, simpler heavy-lift vehicle that could be ready to fly as early as 2018. Science News also said that European countries, Japan, and Canada would be asked to work on a lunar lander and modules for a moon base, saving the U.S. several billion dollars, and commercial companies would take over the job of getting supplies to the international space station.

So, what about the “flexible path” suggested by the Augustine Commission? If this plan is implemented, U.S. partners focus on lunar exploration, and NASA — while helping out with the Moon missions, might also focus on missions to asteroids and Phobos and Deimos to prepare for a later human landing on the Red Planet in the distant future. To prepare for human visits, NASA may order additional robotic missions to the martian moons and asteroids in coming years.

Nothing’s official yet; we’ll have to wait and see what actually transpires….

Read Science Magazine’s ScienceInsider for the whole story.

What’s your opinion on this possible turn of events?

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12 Responses

  1. tomster42 says

    Hooray!

  2. SuperKevin says

    Great news! Glad decisions are finally being made. A moon base sounds like the perfect way to start things off. Also, I’d like it to be painted a bright color so I can see it from home. 😉

  3. jf says

    A few comments:

    1) The post you’re citing is from Science, not Science News (two different publications!).

    2) It’s also worth noting similar reports from the Orlando Sentinel and Space News, which came out before (by hours, not days) the Science report, with similar statements, including a $1B increase in the agency’s FY11 budget proposal.

    3) Keep in mind that no formal decisions have been made, and NASA officials have been on the record that Wednesday’s meeting between Bolden and Obama was “informational, not decisional”. Nothing’s set in stone yet.

  4. cartmancakes says

    a moonbase is a good idea??? I hope you aren’t one of those people who were angry at Bush for his VSE, and are now all for the moonbase.

  5. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    [rubs eyes] … [pinch arm] Ouch!

    Is it Xmas? Because that is sure one big present!

    I think, as a representative for the EurJapCan contingent, that we would be glad to be called on to pitch in the required effort in such a noble venture. If we can sell US to collaborate with Russia, who surely will feel left out, and China, which we already know does, it would be that much a stronger project.

    Also it would be stupid to leave India out at this point, as they have successfully worked at the Moon. Surely they would help with more surveys and communication et cetera, if they can benefit from the proceeds.

    I’m not saying that this is necessary, or that a project should be bogged down in mutual benefit aspirations. I’m saying that this is an opportunity to take advantage of.

    As for the national interest, I’m sure it can be satisfied along the presented lines of ability. May the respective rockets landfall where they will, this will be an awesome adventure on ‘steroids!

  6. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    On second reflection after reading the reference, if this holds up, I laud Obama for such a constructive initiative.

    A heavy duty launcher is necessary and, all things equal, sufficient for project time and money ROI. We used one to get to the Moon, for one.

    Obama chose wisely the political optimal ROI by doing the same technologically (big dumb booster) and exploratory (small intelligently chosen targets), I’m sure.

    [OT laugh: the ref has “congressional critics like Shelby”.

    Sure it’s not “congressional critters”? The man, with extensive state interest in business as usual, makes the perverse claim that others “further their personal business” in this question.]

  7. Member
    Aqua says

    Nice.. I like!

  8. RUF says

    This is great news! Hope they can roll out the Jupiter 232’s.

  9. von Dawsons Express says

    Oh come on Spacefans, get real, I expect better from you guys, I respect your comments. Obama has only had a chat over tea and biscuits and now we are gettng ANOTHER heavy lifter? and its ready by when? and a big project/target for it. The US will get another president by then and the project will be cancelled and/or fiddled with and more money wasted. the paper work alone piled up would take us to the moon like some Jack’s Bean Stalk. Read the article again, its not official, its peppered with ‘…next year…’ and ‘…if this is true…’ Do me a favour, pick up a BIS ‘Spacelight’, FLIGHT Int, AW&ST from the mid-80’s to mid-90’s and dream about what they wrote about 2010…
    I’ll believe this when I see it but I’ll tell you summat for nowt, all that work and ideas expanded on Aries-V since 2003 has been wasted…
    Come NASA/USA DO SUMAT FOR REAL!!! How quickly did you folks get to the moon in the 1960’s? I know about waste and chucking away great talent, the UK goverment has a ‘talent’ for it….

    Am of train-spotting at least summat happens there…

  10. Spoodle58 says

    I think I can speak for everyone here when I say we will believe it when we see it, but that doesn’t have to stop us from saying Hooray!

    After all the whole manned space program could have been mothballed.

    What we must do now is keep the pressure on our political representatives to follow through with this.

    Hooray!

  11. rudeyd says

    First of all, I have to say I AM SHOCKED that Obama and the current administration is not SHREDDING everything that Bush proposed for NASA.

    2nd, surely Mr. Obama understands by now that the U.S. of A. has to be heavily involved in the new space initiatives and that we also have to bring ALL FIVE countries on board as a partnership. With out Russia, China, India and Japan (all of whom have pledged serious and ambitious goals), it will not be affordable, or viable for a single country to achieve. We cannot afford a conflict over “moon rights”, can we? One country cannot claim the moon, and neither can those idiots in Hollywood that bought “Lunar Lots”. That is actually very funny!
    Russia has every intention of extracting all the economical benefits from the moon as possible and there is a lot to be gained from a base on the moon, ESPECIALLY scientifically.
    The first country to figure out a cheap a way to mine and ship from the moon will have a serious advantage. Economically retrieving Helium 3 from the moon would be worth hundreds of trillions of dollars by itself, and that is but one entity worth looking into on the moon.
    This is a great time to be alive for space and science enthusiasts, don’t you think??

  12. Aodhhan says

    If every agency receives what has been promissed to them by the President, and/or their respected representative… you will only see our taxes increase.

    I won’t get too excited, until we cut a lot of the wasteful spending (in pork alone), and actually see the final product of whatever spending and procurement bill this NASA item lands on; since it is too big, and has too many colors of money involved to be part of the annual budget allowance.

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