Friday, December 18, 2009

White House Floats Trial Balloon On NASA's Future?

One of the most reputable science organizations on the planet is reporting that President Barack Obama will ask Congress to fund a new heavy-lift launch vehicle that would enable NASA to once again launch missions beyond Earth orbit.

The "Science Insider" blog at the web site of the journal Science, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, posted an article by Andrew Lawler that recaps, through unnamed sources, a meeting between the president and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden earlier this week.

The article says 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. It also implies that the embattled Ares I rocket will be scrapped and that NASA instead would invest in the development of a commercial means of launching U.S. astronauts into low Earth orbit.

Check it out HERE.

Insiders at NASA Headquarters suspect that the story is a trial balloon launched by the White House. The House and Senate Committees on Appropriations reached agreement last week on bill that would require congressional approval of any changes to NASA's current Project Constellation.

The bill requires congressional approval of “any program termination or elimination or the creation of any new program, project or activity,” the committees said in a report.

"It clearly says that before anything is changed on Constellation, they are going to have to get that by the Congress," U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson,D-Orlando, told Florida Today last week.

The report summarizes the 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which combines six spending bills, including those that direct NASA spending.

NASA is developing the Ares I rocket and Orion spacecraft to transport astronauts and the Ares V heavy-lift launch vehicle to haul up large cargoes for human expeditions beyond Earth orbit.

A White House panel delivered a report in October that included eight human spaceflight options, six of which would kill the Ares I project.

The panel favored the development of commercial capability to launch astronauts on private sector space taxis that do not yet exist.


Jay said...

Why not just rebuild the Saturn V? With todays materials it would be more powerful then in the 60's.

Gaetano Marano said...

assuming the Ares-1 can fly (but it CAN'T) do you really believe that over 35 billion$ can be spend to (just) develop a rocket, while the world is in a so deep economy crisis???

Conor said...

Jay said...
Why not just rebuild the Saturn V? With todays materials it would be more powerful then in the 60's

Why not rebuild the Ford Model T? With today's materials it would be more powerful then in the 20's
Better to build a brand new vehicle derived from the Shuttle.

Graham said...

Which is exactly what they are doing with the constellation program. And it's progressing nicely,with the recent Ares 1X test flight .

Anonymous said...

KSC workers be prepared.
Just remember there are a ton of lawn care services and fishing guides already saturating the job market.

(The ISS would make a big splash.)