Monday, February 01, 2010

Obama Asks Congress To Kill Constellation

Despite a $9 billion investment over the past six years, President Obama on this seventh anniversary of the 2003 Columbia accident is asking Congress to kill Project Constellation -- NASA's program aimed at returning American astronauts to the moon.

The Obama Administration's proposed 2011 budget says:

"Leaving the boundaries of our planet has helped to spur innovation and push the boundaries of scientific knowledge across many fields. Recognizing the importance of space science and exploration, the Administration is proposing to cancel the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Constellation program -- which is based largely on existing technologies and was over budget, behind schedule, and lacking in innovation -- and replace it with a bold, new approach to human space flight that embraces commercial industry, forges international partnerships, and invests in the building blocks of a more capable approach to space exploration.

This includes: research and development to support future cost-effective, heavy-lift rocket systems; a vigorous new technology development and test program that aims to increase the capabilities and reduce the cost of future exploration activities; and the development of precursor robotic exploration missions to scout locations and demonstrate technologies to increase the safety and capability of future human missions and provide scientific dividends. To support this effort, the Budget adds $6 billion to NASA's budget over the next five years."

More to come...


Anonymous said...

No other country in the World has ever been, nor is currently, capable of producing a heavy lift rocket equal to the Saturn V.

Why would the President of the United States of America want to help other countries achieve this capability by sharing American technological superiority?

This man and his administration must be defeated in every objective he has set. He is working for the good of other governments not for the good of Americans and this is unacceptable. One step at a time he is attempting to dismantle America. It is time to stand up and vote this administration and this congress out of office!

Anonymous said...

The 7000 jobs they keep going on about are just related to the space center. 2.8 jobs per job lost is the expected impact. They should reference that number. Keep in mind, that was assuming that the constellation program moved forward...which it looks as though it will not. So, did Obama address the nearly 20000 jobs impacted?

Anonymous said...

We can spend Trillions on corrupt organizations like acorn but not millions to keep our space program and it's employees working? This man is an idiot, pure and simple. Instead of "America first" I believe his motto is "America to worst!"

Anonymous said...

Talk about irony!

Republican Conservatives fought tooth and nail shoulder to shoulder with Medical Insurance Lobbyist to stop millions of Americans from getting access to health care calling it Socialized.

Now, they want us to spend Billions of Tax dollars to give them jobs on what is essentially a Glorified Social Welfare Jobs Program known as NASA.

Now that takes the cake. This exposes the Conservatives as nothing but arrogant hypocrits.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess it is official - Russian won the space race.

Anonymous said...

For those of you at the Space Center who voted for Obama. How's that hope and change working out for you?

Marv said...

Rest in peace NASA unless congress steps up your all but dead as the agency we knew. The local econmy is gonna get trashed big time, it's not just the people who work at/for NASA that are gonna lose there jobs it's everyone from grocery stores to car dealers, to any retail store.
I'll reiterate what Anonyous said: Hows that hope and change working out for you?

Anonymous said...

I work out at the space center, the day afer the election every other car had an Obama bumper sticker. Today you can't find a car with the sticker...........Change !

Anonymous said...

Returning to the moon would allow America to mine Helium3. It has been estimated that one shuttle load of Helium3 would supply ALL of the energy needs of the United States for one full year.

Based on the reports that Obama himself credited, the U.S. imported the majority (over 60%) of its oil last year, $750 BILLION DOLLARS worth. Therefore one can calculate that one shuttle load of Helium3 is greater than $750 BILLION DOLLARS.

DO THE MATH PEOPLE! Obama, his administration and many in Congress want America to be weakened and want America to continue energy dependence from our enemies!

Vote against these people. Our new slogan must be TIME FOR CHANGE AGAIN! NOW!

Anonymous said...

Is anyone suprised? They wanted change and change is what they are getting. How sad that everyone is not fully aware of all that the space program has brought to our daily lives. This non-native born muslim doesn't care what happens to America or Americans.

Anonymous said...

No one is stopping anyone from getting healthcare. Get off that talking point, will you? It doesn't work. Even Hatians can get health care here. You don't see them being taken to Michael Moore's health Mecca Cuba do you?

If you think the space program is just a glorified Welfare Jobs program, you are too far gone to be helped. No point trying to explain to you.

Turn the space station over to the Chinese and Russians and just send another Billion to Haiti where it will disappear.

Anonymous said...

Trillions on ACORN? I think you expose your level of knowledge with an absurd statement like that.

Anonymous said...

You idiots, this is exactly the change NASA and Human Space Flight needed. We just exchanged the Moon for the entire Solar System. Even though I will lose my job when the Space Shuttle program ends (it's going to happen regardless of what program is selected), I'm glad HSF now has a continuous course to follow, one in which each milestone achieved leads us to the next objective to be completed - a continuous cycle of technological development and advancement.

To clarify for those who can't comprehend why I'd be happy about losing my job: Human Space Flight is about furthering Humanity's (not just America's) presence in space, not to preserve jobs.

So yes, for those who are wondering, Hope and Change are working quite nicely for HSF, assuming Congress passes the proposal as is. For once, we have a President who didn't just kick NASA's can down the road for someone else to deal with.

One last note, there is no space race. Period. It's over, we already won, we landed on the Moon first, it is OK to back off a bit if we're using that time to invest in R&D in order to further our prospects in space.

It's time we drop this B.S. on beating our chest about how we're "first" in space just because we launch 24/365 and actually move on to the next objective. Let someone else land on the Moon, we're moving onto Lagrange Points, NEOs, Deimos, Phobos, Mars, etc., and they can catch up when it suits them.

We have a serious "resting on our laurels" issue in this country. Keep moving forward, damnit. (End Rant.)

wise one said...

Newsflash to GOP:

You're whine about deficit spending.
Then you whine about shooting expensive, wasteful programs.


Anonymous said...

We knew this was coming for a few months, and it is a pathetic shot at our country and those who keep our space program in the forefront.

The POTUS has not mentioned ONE thing about the impending job loss in the program, and it is going to be huge.

Congress must stop this insane dissection of this country, and everything it USED to stand for.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and one last thing: Returning to the Moon IS part of the Flexible Path Option (which is being proposed by the Obama Administration), it just isn't the first thing we do. So get your story straight on how the President is "killing" NASA.


Marv said...

I count myself as one of the fortunate to be old eneough to rember the start of the space program and the intrest and pride that it created in America. (i'm nearly 53) I certinly expected to see us get back to the moon and maybe even Mars in my lifetime, now I'm not so sure that either will happen. As history has shown us we bulid and then abandon. We went to the moon and left just as we were being able to stay longer and do more exploration. We built Skylab out of leftover Apollo items, at the time it was the most complex space station ever...we visited it 3 times and left. The plan was to re-boost it with the shuttle of course that never happened. We build and fly the most complicated spaceship ever and now we are going to ground it. WE build the largest space station to date and now we are going to have to hitch hike to it on the Russians 20 plus year old Soyuz (by the way don't think the price is gonna go up do you?) Not to mention that we had the largest heavy lift rocket in the world (which this admin no wants us to build again apparently) and we of course abandon that as well.

To all those who say we should not spend money on space well last I looked there wasn't a single dollar floating around out there. But there will be less dollars floating around the local economy because those jobs are gone (or soon will be) it's goning to affect everyone if you think it won't then you better think again.

Anonymous said...

530,000 people in Brevard will not be as bad as the 70's when only 220,000 lived here.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who didn't see this coming 5 years ago just wasn't paying attention. Shuttle program cancelled, Griffin with his meglomaniacal ideas, and lack of funding from the previous adminstration left NASA in the toilet. Nothing left to do but flush.

Anonymous said...

We can explore faster and further without humans.

Anonymous said...

I remember during the Bush years it was pointed out that it takes a strong and dedicated President to make unpopular decisions and stick to them. Are all the right-wingers going back on that, or do those pathetic excuses only apply when Republicans are in office? Where's the praise for Obama's strength, dedication, and willingness to disappoint (like they heaped on Bush for his idiotic decisions)?

What's the deal with NASA reverting to moon missions and splash-capsule technology, anyway? I considered it one giant leap 45 years backward.

WordsmithFL said...

As usual, there's a lot of stupid stuff being spewed here.

NASA is not dead. NASA actually gets a proposed budget increase. The ISS gets extended to at least 2020.

We've been buying rides on the Soyuz for nearly a decade. How do you think we got to ISS during the down-time after Columbia?

If you think there was a Moon program, you're fooling yourself. The non-partisan Augustine Panel found that Constellation wouldn't get us to the Moon until 2028, if ever. It was underfunded, it was behind schedule, and it was unlikely to ever be properly financed by Congress.

This proposal gets NASA out of the space taxi business and uses the savings to properly focus on a new heavy lifter that gets us to the Moon and beyond.

If you watch the iconic film "2001," passengers got to the space station not on a NASA vehicle, but on a commercial spacecraft.

NASA should be doing what it does best -- focus on cutting-edge technology, not being a taxi. Let's face it, human flight to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is a 50-year old technology. There's nothing new in that. So why not let the private sector take over -- the American private sector, which means those jobs stay here -- and use the savings for a proper exploration program?

That's what this proposal really does. When you people calm down from your hysteria and your political propaganda, think it through. It's the best direction forward for this nation, and sets forward a true path for going to the Moon, not a jobs program that was just spinning its wheels.

Anonymous said...

Not sure whether this is a good idea. Can Space X step up to the plate to replace Ares 1/Orion or will we be hitching rides with the Russians forever? I'm not sure. Ares V should be saved!! We've needed a heavy lift LV ever since we decided to stop production of Saturn Vs....they had upgrade plans to the Saturn V that included a new 3rd stage and 3 260 inch (21 feet!) solid boosters....that stack could have carried the ENTIRE ISS into orbit on one flight if they could have fit the thing in the payload shroud. Those were the days...assemble the best engineering team you can find, give them a goal and lots of cash.....looks like this new plan is going to put NASA on the sidelines for manned space flight.

Anonymous said...

You received more money!!!!! Just want you to spend on something new!!!! If someone attacks the use today the shuttle can't help us in any way. Not an issue of national security.

Anonymous said...

Helium3 power the whole US for a year? LOL You must be sucking helium!!!

Anonymous said...

It is a sad day for the United States.

Anonymous said...

Todd Halvorson,
No other country in the World has ever been, nor is currently, capable of producing a heavy lift rocket equal to the Saturn V.

Why would the President of the United States of America want to help other countries achieve this capability by sharing American technological superiority?
Why would the President not want to benefit Americans via this advantage?

Returning to the moon would allow America to mine Helium3. It has been estimated that one shuttle load of Helium3 would supply ALL of the energy needs of the United States for one full year. It has been reported that Helium3 is prevalent everywhere man has landed on the moon.

Based on the reports that Obama himself credited, the U.S. imported the majority (over 60%) of its oil last year, $750 BILLION DOLLARS worth. Therefore one can calculate that one shuttle load of Helium3 is greater than $750 BILLION DOLLARS. That is just one shuttle load!
The real story is that for a fraction of the value of just one year’s oil imports we can get back to the moon and permanently erase our dependency on foreign oil supplied by people who do not have the best intentions for America in mind.
With a single focused effort we address keeping America’s technological advantage and therefore our standing in the world, we address America’s energy needs, we address foreign oil dependency, we address ceasing enrichment of our enemies, we address global warming, pollution, jobs and numerous other issues. By supporting and funding a return to the moon now we can positively change the direction and future of America forever.
I would think that pursuing this story and getting the answers as to why the President and Congress do not want this for America might be very challenging, but as a reporter it might be a career story.

I know most of America would be very interested to hear why this is not more mainstream news and why our politicians do not want this for the United States as quickly as possible. This is a story that could very well change the world we live in. Todd, are you up to pursuing such a difficult and challenging story?
I would like to see your response in the paper.
A new resident to Brevard County

Anonymous said...

Will commercial entities take the risks that NASA does with regards to human spaceflight, not likely. The legal liability alone would keep it from happening. Imagine what will happen when an accident occurs. They will be sued out of existence. Unless they are protected from lawsuits no business will ever take the risk. Period.

Anonymous said...

People on the left are just mean and angry!! People on the right talk about our differences. We don't keep saying the same old thing left-wing nuts and left-wingers. Give us the classic "birther" angry people. You sound like a bunch of soccer moms after a big win.

Anonymous said...

I want mr obama to think about this , in 10 years or so the last of the remarkable fraternity (the 12 moon walkers ) will pass from living memory and we still will have not gone back to the moon i want to see how explains to his children how he destroyed the the wonder and imagination that was given to my generation watching all that as a child .

Anonymous said...

We do not need to go to the moon. Go get the oil off the bottom of the ocean. It seeping out in many places any way.

Anonymous said...

Where is the proof Helium3 can be found on the moon? Where the proof there is enough to power the whole US in on shuttle full?

Anonymous said...

We do not need foreign oil. We choose to use foreign oil because it is cheaper. You are the same people who complain about big business and jobs and pack Walmart every weekend because it is cheap. That's why so many good paying sales and manufacturing jobs are gone. Now cheap has hit your door step.

Anonymous said...


Race to the Moon for Nuclear Fuel

NASA 2006
NASA's planned moon base announced last week could pave the way for deeper space exploration to Mars, but one of the biggest beneficiaries may be the terrestrial energy industry.

Nestled among the agency's 200-point mission goals is a proposal to mine the moon for fuel used in fusion reactors -- futuristic power plants that have been demonstrated in proof-of-concept but are likely decades away from commercial deployment.

Helium-3 is considered a safe, environmentally friendly fuel candidate for these generators, and while it is scarce on Earth it is plentiful on the moon.

As a result, scientists have begun to consider the practicality of mining lunar Helium-3 as a replacement for fossil fuels.

"After four-and-half-billion years, there should be large amounts of helium-3 on the moon," said Gerald Kulcinski, a professor who leads the Fusion Technology Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

The Council is chaired by Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Hagan "Jack" Schmitt, a leading proponent of mining the moon for helium 3.

Schmitt, who holds the distance record for driving a NASA rover on the moon (22 miles through the Taurus-Littrow valley), is also a former U.S. senator (R-New Mexico).

prominent members of the Council include ex-astronaut Neil Armstrong.

Schmitt and Kulcinski are longtime friends and academic partners, and are known as helium-3 fusion's biggest promoters.

At the Fusion Technology Institute, Kulcinski's team has produced small-scale helium-3 fusion reactions in the basketball-sized fusion device. The reactor produced one milliwatt of power on a continuous basis.

Nuclear fusion is touted as a safer, more sustainable way to generate nuclear energy: Fusion plants produce much less radioactive waste, especially if powered by helium-3.
The isotope is extremely rare on Earth but abundant on the moon. Some experts estimate there a millions of tons in lunar soil -- and that a single Space-Shuttle load would power the entire United States for a year.

NASA plans to have a permanent moon base by 2024, but America is not the only nation with plans for a moon base. China, India, the European Space Agency, and at least one Russian corporation, Energia, have visions of building manned lunar bases post-2020.

Mining the moon for helium-3 has been discussed widely in space circles and international space conferences. Both China and Russia have stated their nations' interest in helium-3.

"We will provide the most reliable report on helium-3 to mankind," Ouyang Ziyuan, the chief scientist of China's lunar program, told a Chinese newspaper. "Whoever first conquers the moon will benefit first."

Russian space geologist Erik Galimov told the Russian Izvestia newspaper that NASA's plan to colonize the moon will "enable the U.S. to establish its control of the global energy market 20 years from now and put the rest of the world on its knees as hydrocarbons run out."

Anonymous said...

Currently being pursued by China and Russia.
The moon...
Currently attempting to be controlled by the United nations.
The Future unless we act...

You can research this all on-line.

The internet is an amazing source for research if you will only use it for more than entertainment!

Do the research and then address your politicians now!

Anonymous said...

Over twenty years ago Rockwell International sold this Glorified Social Welfare Program to Congress and the US Tax Payers were robbed of several billions over that period of time.

Rockwell said that this was a Space Plane and would take off and land much like an airline would and turn-around time would be in the days and at most weeks. NOT!!!!

The Space Plane never did what Rockwell sold to the taxpayers but that didn't delay the checks from congress into Defense Contractor’s Bank Accounts.
They got rich and we got broke funding the SCAM.

Then along came the Bush's boys who decided it was much more profitable for their contributors (Defense Contractors) to fight wars than it was to explore space, so here we are today.

You should never vote for a Republican Conservative.
That's like chickens voting for Colonel Sanders.

Anonymous said...

NASA was just looking to sell an idea. It is a bunch maybe and it should have. Just like global warming a sales pitch for research money.

Anonymous said...

Currently being pursued by China and Russia.
Sure they are??? Say China and Russia and make it seem like the sky is falling!! Here come tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing that the majority of posters here don't even have an idea what "helium 3" means, let alone have any understanding of the science behind a possible helium 3 power plant (or the money it will cost to research how the heck to build one!). So when you all say "we could just haul a few shuttles full back and power the planet forever"'s really not that simple, ok?!