Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Obama to abandon return to moon, extend ISS

President Barack Obama will propose $6 billion in new funding for NASA over the next five years, administration officials said Wednesday.

The proposed increase, which will be part of the president's fiscal 2011 budget request on Monday, aims to encourage the use of commercial rockets and extend use of the International Space Station until at least 2020 as the agency switches priorities away from sending astronauts back to the moon.

Kennedy Space Center would receive more money to create hundreds of jobs and boost the pace of commercial rocket launches, the officials said. Some 7,000 shuttle jobs are expected to be lost in Brevard when the shuttle fleet retires after five more flights.

"Budgets are very tight," said Sally Ride, a former astronaut who served on a presidential panel that issued a report about NASA's future in October. "For NASA to be getting new money over the projections is to me is an indication of how seriously this administration takes NASA and our goal of future innovations in this country."

All told, the budget would provide $100 billion to NASA over five years and create an estimated 1,700 jobs in Florida in the commercial space industry and 5,000 nationwide. Kennedy Space Center would receive hundreds of new jobs from unspecified improvements to its facilities, with a faster pace of launches to keep the workforce more engaged.

The proposed increase for NASA is notable because Obama wants to freeze the domestic budget overall.

"We're doing a number of things to help mitigate the losses that Florida already knows are coming, and help create jobs and industries for the future," an administration official said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. "This is going to help put NASA on a more sustainable and ambitious trajectory in its space initiatives going forward."

The administration's plans for NASA have met resistance from space boosters in Congress, who want the shuttle program to continue and who want to send astronauts back to the moon.

"My biggest fear is that this amounts to a slow death of our nation's human space flight program, a retreat from America's decades of leadership in space, ending the economic advantages that our space program has brought to the U.S., and ceding space to the Russians, Chinese and others,' said Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge. "The president's U-turn on this issue is both bizarre and misguided."

A moon mission wouldn't have taken place until 2028. Current plans call for astronauts to hitch rides on Russian rockets between when the shuttle retires and a replacement rocket is developed in 2017 or 2018.

"We're doing a lot of the things that Congress has specifically asked us to do," the administration official said. "As they learn more, I think people will get excited about a new and bold direction in space."

NASA's plans to return to the moon are behind schedule because billions that had been budgeted for the Constellation project weren’t appropriated by Congress. The presidential panel that looked at NASA's future said the agency would need a significant budget increase to carry out any "meaningful" human space exploration.

Panel members favored developing commercial space taxis to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station. The Obama administration is expected to direct NASA to invest accordingly and to develop a heavy-lift launch vehicle - a Saturn V-class rocket - for missions beyond Earth orbit.

NASA and administration officials declined to speak about plans for any heavy-lift rocket before the budget release.

The agency will encourage private companies to develop launch capabilities for astronauts, in addition to cargo. The investment in commercial industry is $6 billion, which coincidentally is the same as the proposed increase in NASA's budget over the next five years.

Private companies "have been launching commercially our very precious cargo," a NASA official said Wednesday. "Expanding that to the commercial crew is something we planned to unveil Monday."

-By Bart Jansen, FLORIDA TODAY's report in Washington

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

From Obama in 2008 - My comprehensive plan to revitalize the space program and close the gap between the Space Shuttle’s retirement and its next-generation replacement includes $2 billion more for NASA – but more money alone is not enough. We must not only retain our space workforce so that we don’t let other countries surpass our technical capabilities; we must train new scientists and engineers for the next generation. My comprehensive space policy focuses on reaching new frontiers through human space exploration, tapping the ingenuity of our commercial space entrepreneurs, fostering a broad research agenda to break new ground on the world’s leading scientific discoveries, and engaging students through educational programs that excite them about space and science. - So much for honesty.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone seriously say in one sentence that they are going to bring hundreds of NEW jobs to an area by effectively shuttering an agency that will cost thousands of jobs? Realistically it should say thousands of jobs are going to be lost and a few hundred will be kept on for the 'new' program. Political double speak BS.

Anonymous said...

sounds like Sally is drinking the Kool AId too

BeWiseBeSmart said...

Human spaceflight is over. With the results of space probes and things like the Mars rover, the need and expense for putting humans in space is no longer justified. Just what the heck are they doing in the Space Station, or on the moon for that matter, that justifies the exhorbitant cost? Answer: nothing that couldn't be done cheaper and safer with unmanned payloads and robotic missions. I, for once, applaud this administration's decision for being spot-on correct.

Anonymous said...

Why no comments? I know some have been posted.

Anonymous said...

B/S. This administration is not for the moon. They are for death camps to put the old people down and spend the US into oblivion. We're going to be borrowing money from Haiti soon, just wait. Maybe all the unemployed workers can get jobs there, considering they just lost 100,000+ people.

NRAbenefactor said...

Did I read this correctly? From Obama's budget decision, "7000 space jobs to be lost in Brevard," and "1700 space jobs to be created in Brevard."

Let me guess: Obama will claim, "I created 1700 space jobs in Brevard!" (Not, "I killed 5300 space jobs in Brevard!")

Mr. Obama said he would "bridge the gap between rockets and preserve space jobs in Brevard" during his visit to Titusville. ObamaSpeak? Change we can believe in? Still happy with your vote for him?

Anonymous said...

If my math is correct, this area is out a lot more job than this new direction creates. Lots of lip service from Washington and people will and continue to suffer. I am disallusioned with our present leadership in Washington.

Anonymous said...

------------------
/ \
/ American Manned \
/ \
/ Space Program \
| |
| 1961 - 2011 |
| |
| RIP |
| |
| |

Anonymous said...

hmm..still no posts, or is it no posts you approve of?

Anonymous said...

Florida Today supported Obama, therefore Florida Today is supporting the demise of the space program.

You get what YOU voted for. Enjoy unemployment!

Random230 said...

Obama is a liar. Remember what he told everyone in Titusville during his town hall meeting. Remember him and his cronies in Congress this November.

He and congress are the greatest domestic threat to our leadership in space and to our country. He and Congress just cost Brevard about 8,000 space center jobs and about 32,000 local jobs in Brevard in the next couple years.

Way to go Mr. Hope and Change and Congress! Thanks for the misery your imposing on our country and it's citizens.

I hope our Florida State lawmakers start standing up for Florida by reaffirming our state's 10th admendment rights and start rejecting the bozos in Washington.

Anonymous said...

FT" All told, the budget would provide $100 billion to NASA over five years and create an estimated 1,700 jobs in Florida in the commercial space industry and 5,000 nationwide" Where did they find 100 billion when they could not even give NASA the extra 3 billion need to have a meaningfull space program? Is this a mistake???

Anonymous said...

They should use the space station after spending billons of dollars and just finishing it. It seems silly to build the thing and then deorbit it. Well, that is just the way goverment works. SiLly.

Anonymous said...

I just graduated with my degree in aerospace engineering from UCF in December 2009...grew up in DC going to Air&Space museum almost every week as a kid. I came here for school to be close to manned space flight.

All my dreams of working on getting us back to the moon.....gone

My chilhood dreams, my academic passion, my professional aspirations....destroyed just as I was coming to realize them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Space Coast -- it’s 1972 all over again. In that historic year the sitting President praised the space program, talked of the future and eviscerated human space flight. What resulted was called the Nixon Endowment by many and led to massive job losses and an economic picture so bleak that many simply walked away from our communities leaving empty homes and defaulted mortgages. It took many years for us to recover. In 2010 we have another sitting President praising the space program, looking toward the future with an inspiring word, a crocodile tear and preparing a funeral pyre for U.S. human space flight. Enter the Obama Endowment. Fresh on the heels of perhaps the worst freshman year ever Mr. Obama continues to make us wonder how someone could follow-up such spectacularly effective leadership in a campaign with such poor leadership in office. This tragic decision is another example of poor leadership and demonstrates the continuing problem that plagues NASA. Transient, agenda driven politicians make it impossible to formulate and execute a long term plan. President Obama is not interested in space. His decisions have nothing to do with good space policy and sustained human space exploration. They have everything to do with narrow political aims. In 1972 it was Richard Nixon, Vietnam, looming political trouble and hatred of the previous administration. In 2010 it is Barak Obama, Afghanistan, looming political trouble and hatred of the previous administration. Sadly we are left starving for leadership and getting more of the same from our politicians.

Anonymous said...

Brevard is...SCREWED!

Anonymous said...

He came to Titusville and promised he was for Manned Space Flight. Liar, Liar!

Mark Lopa said...

The only hope American manned space flight had was to extend the shuttle program. Killing it in five more flights will be the end of Americans sending humans into space. We'll get "comfortable" hitching rides with the Russians, and won't find the need to send up our own people anymore. It could evolve into a global space program, but who wants that right now. I still have American pride. Obviously Obama doesn't.

What a way to honor the Challenger and Columbia crews...wipe out the shuttle program as a preface to ending American manned space flight. Nice.

Anonymous said...

Replying to the Death camp post. Your leader Glenn Beck wears a Hitler uniform and admits to being a liar. Plus he cried on FOX that he lost his country when Obama was elected. You and the republicans are doing the Nazi thing referring to Death camps. Your party is always thinking of Death camps and have members calling for God to strike Liberals dead. Plus you And FOX news, Bill Oreilly advocate killing Doctors that perform abortions.

Anonymous said...

"I just graduated with my degree in aerospace engineering from UCF in December 2009...
...My chilhood dreams, my academic passion, my professional aspirations....destroyed just as I was coming to realize them."

I wonder how Obama justifies inspiration of math and science (and global marketplace competition) by doing this? Obama wants NOTHING to do with math and science education. Obama wants nothing to do with making this nation competitive globally. Therefore, my plan, as a fellow Aerospace/mechanical engineer is to someday hopefully take my talent OUT of this lame country. If the government doesn't want highly intelligent people who can think and produce technology in this country, then so be it. I'm done. Let the mexicans take over with cutting the grass and the uber-rich rule over nothing but a burnt ember of a once great productive nation.

Anonymous said...

43 yeaqs ago to this day January 27, three brave man Gus, Ed, and Roger died trying to get us to the Moon.

Today one person killed that dream and shamed their sacrifice. Not Congress, not the economy, not even NASA management....one man killed our dream.

Anonymous said...

One man killed that dream, and that man was Richard Milhouse Nixon.

AnObamanaut said...

The Constellation program needed to be put out of it's misery anyway. And the entire Constellation staff, from DC to Florida to Houston to Alabama to Mississippi to California and wherever else need to all get gone too! If Kay Bailey succeeds with Shuttle extension and Bill Nelson endorses it, and with the Obama plan for KSC, voters here should be happy enough for the Dems to suceed in the next Florida election. But still skeptical of commercial rocket development plans for success and supposed safety of operations.

Frank said...

It proves once again; governments are NOT to be trusted on to make us a space-faring civilization, they only provide an endless stream of false starts and false hopes.
Eventually private undertakings that capture the imagination of many people will take mankind to the planets. It will just take more time.
The days of visionary presidents like JFK is long gone, unfortunately..
Luckily there are always people like Richard Branson that DO keep the Dream alive...

Anonymous said...

What is the definition of commercial spaceflight? Really how commercial will be it be if $6B of the budget is directed toward commercialization? That sounds nothing more than just like we have it today except it screams more of a "jobs" program than ever before.

I've worked in manned spaceflight for most of my adult life and have had several programs cancelled because no one was willing to commit to finishing it. This "commercializtion" buzz word is nothing more than the same ol' crap. It will be golden for a couple of years and then cancelled and something new will come along. That makes me more upset than ending Constellation.

Jungle John said...

We need that high-speed rail now to get us out of KSC.

Anonymous said...

43 yeaqs ago to this day January 27, three brave man Gus, Ed, and Roger died trying to get us to the Moon.

Today one person killed that dream and shamed their sacrifice. Not Congress, not the economy, not even NASA management....one man killed our dream...

...and that man was George W. Bush when he started the usele$$ war with Iraq and ruined the American Economy (not to mention the wasted lives of precious Americans for people who hate us any ways).

Anonymous said...

As someone above stated "My chilhood dreams, my academic passion, my professional aspirations....destroyed just as I was coming to realize them." I second that. I have had a strong passion for the space program as long as I can remember. I even applied for the teacher in space program. I am a teacher who dedicates 90% of my teaching time to space related issues. I have rebuilt that childhood passion in many students. And now this moron in office is going to ruin it for everyone. America used to be the best country.....one everyone longed to be like. Now we are a laughing stock. The loss of the space program will not only loose many jobs it will tear down the heart & soul of this country. Something I thought I'd never live to see. What news to read as we remember some REAL American heros.......Challenger 24 yrs ago today.

KD

Anonymous said...

All these people complaining about job the losses should really get a reality check.

The 7,000 job less figure is what it was going to be in the first place - you can thank George W. and his underfunding Constellation for 5 years for that one. How clueless are you people about a subject you claim to care about? If nothing changed, we'd lose 7,000 jobs. With this plan, we lose 5,300. It's a bummer, but it's still BETTER than what it would have been.

I'm sick of Obama Derangement Syndrome. Know what you're talking about before you start complaining.

Gaetano Marano said...

--
the Ares-1 is ALREADY DEAD due to SEVERAL design issues: http://ow.ly/K1UO
--
but the Constellation program CAN be SAVED and it costs ONLY... one Shuttle!
--
I have a proposal to SAVE the Constellation/Moon program: http://ow.ly/10hxl
--
and it could (very probably) match the NASA budget without need extra funds!
--

Jim Muncy said...

Folks, get a grip. The Shuttle program was ended by George Bush after the Columbia accident. The decision to kill 7000 jobs in Brevard was made years ago. Obama is creating a couple thousand new and more sustainable jobs with commercial crew and other spaceflight initiatives at the Cape.

True, it's not enough. But Ares wasn't creating more than a couple hundred jobs at the Cape. Ares creates jobs in Alabama and Utah, not Florida. If you want jobs in Florida, you need to focus the investment on more frequent flight operations and payload processing and associated manufacturing, not so-called launch vehicle R&D elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

well, when the first man will step down from the ladder of its capsule on Mars and will say something like 'a small step...' broadcasted worldwide, he'll talk chinese, and as first thing he'll thank Russia for supporting the Chinese space program...US people will watch that on TV news...a very sad thought...

Michael McGrory said...

The diffeence between the Nixon Fellowship and this is that when Nixon cancelled Apollo, the Space Shuttle was in the pipeline and just about to be approved by Congress. A hostile Congress. So manned spaceflight wasn't ended, just reprioritized. Obama is basically saying U.S. manned Spaceflight is over until Southwest Airlines decides it economically viable to built hotels and casino's on the Moon, and have several non-stop flights on there Moon shuttles to be built in in 2150, A.D. when we are all dead!

And the other thing, Nixon had a hostile Congress, his own part was hostile, he was enforcing wage and price controls, and he didn't have Carte Blanche (sp?) to spend as much money on anything (like for example super-trains to Disneyland)as he liked.

Given that freedom, Nixon probably would have said, "Sure, build a moon base, build a shuttle system, plan for Mars in the 1980's . . I don't really care. It's a high tech jobs program and the Russians will go bankrupt trying to keep up!"

So Obama is taken away the one thing Americans can be proud of their government for, for a fraction of cent of the average taxpayer. Guess Michael Phelps and Miley Cyrus are all we have to offer the world now as proof of a superpower. (And our underpaid, overstreched Military that is fighting at least 3 wars (Plan Columbia is still going on right?), has 500,000 boots on the ground, and is responding to every natural or man made disaster on the planet. Oh, I mispoke, I think they got a 2 percent COLA this year.

Sincerely yours,
Michael McGrory JD./M.P.H, not a NASA employee or Military family . . . or Republican

Anonymous said...

I think Obama has a great plan for the KSC workers, when we all get escorted out the gate. All 7,000 of us can pick up and ax or shovel and start digging the path for the new high speed rail system from Orlando to Tampa. He likes to take credit for the jobs he creates, but do you think he would address the 7,000 KSC works on our own turf about us loosing our jobs and our homes? I don't think he has the stomach. Remember how fun it was after the Apollo program ended?

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to figure out how to tell my kids that this country has abandoned manned space travel.

Graham said...

I have only this to say.He/they have got it badly wrong,and it will all end in tears.The chinese are rubbing their hands with glee.They just verbally castrated the american manned space program. So much for getting the american human intellect back to the moon and on to mars. I thought i might see them fly to the moon twice in my lifetime.!!. NOT NOW !!.

Anonymous said...

guess Mars wasn't the only place America lost its "spirit" this week....:(

Anonymous said...

Poor bastards...30 years have passed...Now ?

Anonymous said...

US human spaceflight is not ending, NASA human space flight is. NASA has had a stranglehold on human spaceflight for decades, strangling our ability to move forward as a space-faring nation. It is typical hypocrisy of the Republicans to criticize Obama for "government take-over" banks and auto companies, but then when he wants the government to turn over space flight to industry it is somehow the end. Republicans have no principles except to be anti-Obama. Credibility ZERO. And don't tell me industry can't do it. Who do you think does it now? Contractors, that's who. NASA does not do anything itself. NASA was killing our space program with incompetence and stupidity. Maybe now we have a chance to save human spaceflight from the inevitable failure it was headed for in the hands of the government and the previous administration.

Anonymous said...

More and more I think I made the proper choice to retire in 2007 after 20 years and move out of Florida. I just heard a rumor that the LCC and VAB are leaking water. The Firex Water protection system that they put in 7 years ago is going off on its own and launch is 10 days away.

Anonymous said...

For everyone that works at KSC that voted for Obama....how do you like your "CHANGE " now!!!

Anonymous said...

If I recall correctly, the phase-out of the shuttle was planned during the last administration, after the loss of Columbia. That's not really Obama's doing.

Anonymous said...

President Obama on 6 August 2009 at Brevard Community College while running for President made a campaign promise to minimize job lay offs when our shuttle fleet retires in 2010. He's done a 180 on us and it's another promise he's failed to keep. There's plenty of money when it comes to pork barrel spending and for priorities like ram rodding a Government run/rationed health care program down the throats of Americans even if the majority don't want it. But now the President takes a stance of having a disciplined, strict Federal budget and he increased our debt to China. We now owe our souls to China and our grandchildren will be paying for this debt for decades.

Anonymous said...

It was George W. Bush who killed the Space Shuttle and tried to kill the Station as well. Even if Constellation had been funded, the jobs would still be lost. How come none of the people attacking Obama now lifted a finger before to save the Shuttle? It's not too late. Trashing the Shuttle before we have something better is still crazy. Obama still might extend Shuttle if NASA management would just admit they made a mistake in canceling it.

Unfortunately Constellation was a $150B program that provides no practical benefits. It had no meaningful strategic objective. It was too heavy to fly, and more expensive to operate than the Space Shuttle. It couldn't get too the moon without bankrupting the country. It was a waste of your tax dollars to transfer our jobs to other parts of the country.

Anonymous said...

George Bush killed the shuttle,he knew he would not be around for the funeral some one else would take the heat. How many of you voted for him? Most of you are the same people complaining about the auto bail out. Oh that was not you who worked for the auto makers, who were losing their jobs after 30 + years. Now it's your turn,should the White House bail out Nasa so you can keep your job? You knew this was coming welcome to the real world.

Anonymous said...

Once again, the president did not waiver one bit from an out and out lie. "And as America leads the world to long‐term exploration of the moon, Mars, and beyond, letʹs also tap NASAʹs ingenuity to build the airplanes of tomorrow and to study our own planet so we can combat global climate change. Under my watch, NASA will inspire the world, make America stronger, and help grow the economy here in Florida." - Excerpt from President Obama’s Town Hall Meeting in Titusville, 08-02-08
After wasting so much money on automakers, trying to shove a socialist health care plan down our throats, etc. He now wants to cut corners on something truly worthwhile for the whole nation not to mention re-nig on another campaign promise. Thank God he is a one term non-wonder.

Anonymous said...

correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't the shuttle program already slated to be cancelled before Obama was put into office? I didn't vote for Obama, but I just want to get the facts straight here. If the shuttle was already going to be cancelled, doesn't that mean that he is trying to get some of these jobs back into place for the ISS or unmanned space exploration?