Sunday, January 31, 2010

Obama to set new course for NASA




It's been talked about for a week now. Just about everyone knew it was coming. But tomorrow President Barack Obama will finally reveal his plan for NASA.

Every president gets their shot at deciding the fate of the nation's space program, changing its course to suit his own personal prerogative. This might be why NASA has had such a difficult time making any serious changes. Or returning to the Moon, for that matter.

Space.com and assorted other news agencies are reporting Obama will likely ask NASA to abandon the Constellation program and its plan for a return to the lunar surface, but also that he will offer a $6 billion investment for them to pursue private lifting assistance to get astronauts back and forth to the International Space Station, which he is also saying he would like to keep funded through 2020.

It's a decidedly mixed-bag Obama is offering to space scientists. On the one hand they will need to rely on as yet untested private space services (possibly: Dragon, SS2, or even Blue Origin)to get astronauts into low earth orbit, on the other hand it might just help them fund a design change in lifting services that could revolutionize spacecraft development for the nation.

Only time will tell.

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