The rumors are flying fast and furious as to details of NASA’s budget and future path that will be officially announced on February 1, 2010. The Orlando Sentinel says the Constellation program is dead: Obama and Congress are going to pull the plug on the Ares rocket and nix returning to the Moon. The Houston Chronicle says there is no way NASA will get a budget boost, especially not the $3 billion suggested by the Augustine Commission. New Scientists reports that Mars’ moon Phobos will be the next destination of human explorers, as part of the undefined “flexible path” — again suggested by the Augustine panel. Most interesting among the mix is a blog post by NASA’s Wayne Hale, who suggests NASA should get out of the human spaceflight business – and allow commercial space companies to handle hauling astronauts to space.
Some speculate this could be the end of America’s space agency as we know it — we might as well take the “S” out of NASA.
The Augustine Commission report last year said “The human spaceflight program that the United States is currently pursuing is on an unsustainable trajectory.”
But is ending Constellation, a program we’ve already spent billions on going to save money or our space program in the long run?
Or does NASA need a whole new direction and a whole new beginning.
Or is it an ending?
Enough speculation. The official word will come on Monday.