Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Watch It Live: White House Panels Narrows Options

LIVE IMAGES: The image above is the latest live image from NASA Television. It will automatically refresh itself to the most up to date image every 30 seconds.

The presidential panel reviewing options for NASA's human space flight program have narrowed the number of questions policymakers must make to the following five:

1. What should be done with the shuttle fleet? Fly out the remaining missions or close the gap by extending operations until 2015.

2. What should be done with the International Space Station? Deorbit the outpost in 2016 or extend operations until at least 2020.

3. What heavy-lift launch system should be developed? The Ares V rocket? A Super Heavy Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle? Or a heavy-lifter more directly derived fro the space shuttle system?

4. How should astronaut crews be transported into low Earth orbit? On the Ares I? On an upgraded Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle? Or on commercial and international launch vehicles?

5. What should be the first destination beyond low Earth orbit?

In regard to the last question, the committee is looking at several options:

1. Return to the moon and establish a base as now planned.

2. Return to the moon by doing several short sorties to several different sites and then eventually build up to a lunar base.

3. Dash out of low Earth orbit and explore deep space, orbiting the moon and Mars and asteroids but not landing on planetary surfaces.

4. Go to Mars first. Perhaps do a dress rehearsal on the moon to test systems for Mars exploration but focus on a 500-day round trip that would include a lengthy, 180-day on the surface.

The committee will be reviewing cost estimates for the different options. Former astronaut Sally Ride will be making that presentation.


Anonymous said...

Thank God! The end of Bush's "idiots in space" program comes to an end.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous -> Are you really that vapid and bitter? RLV news has a great article today on VSE has gotten thwarted, and the points behind it.

Anonymous said...

Is it better to keep the Russians employed or a U.S.citizen? Our government can spend billions and more on useless crap, but a program that produces inovations that benefits all mankind,they want to hibernate for a few years.Do we (United States government) believe that China,India, Russia,are going to sit on thier hands and not take advantage of the USA hibernation, think about it!!!!!!!!Obama said he supported the space program an human flight, if he shuts it down, it will be just another one of his lies. I am not a space worker and do not know anyone that is affiliated with the space center.