NASA – You Are Doing What!
February 23, 2011
Since President Obama took office in 2009, little has been said under his administration about our current space program. However, finally a year after taking office, the President has called for a shut down in NASA’s program that plans to return humans to the moon. The Constellation Program, which is set to gain insight exploring away from Earth’s environment could potentially lead to new technologies helping humans lead the space frontier. What this means is, by 2020 astronauts would have been going to the International Space Station (ISS), then to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Now the Obama Administration has decided as of early February 2010 that it wants NASA to direct its attention towards developing new space scientific information.
According to The New York Times, under this current proposal NASA is expected to receive $20 billion dollars each year through 2015, totally up to $100 billion dollars. In order to obtain such funds, came the $9 billion decision to not use Constellation’s Ares 1 rocket or Orian crew capsule to take astronauts to the ISS. The plan is to subcontract out projects to companies that would serve as a space taxi to take supplies and astronauts to the ISS. Dr. John M. Logsdon, former director of the Space Policy Institute believes this is a risky move for NASA to make, yet understands the decision because the agency needs time to develope new technology since a lot of its operating systems are based on the original technology from the 50’s and 60’s. It’s also important to realize that there is a risk that maybe these subcontracted companies can’t deliver the technology and ideas to serve as a taxi for astronauts; which would financially hurt NASA and prolong any space activity. This also could mean paying Russia millions of dollars to transport our astronauts to the ISS.
As of December 30, 2010 as Fox News reports in Rocket to Nowhere, NASA must continue building the Ares 1 rocket until there is a 2011 budget that is passed. Yet here is the problem, the government hasn’t passed a 2011 budget; even President Obama has order to shut down the Constellation Program. Which means us tax payers are watching over $500 million dollars of our money get spent on a rocket that will never fly. Even former NASA astronaut Tom Jones got in on the discussion with Fox News and he is highly disappointed in our government because until they pass the 2011 budge; NASA will continue to spend money for at least another six months on a project that isn’t even going to take us to the future.
The big concern now is the development and continuation of the ISS. If NASA can’t get ideas and projects complete, how much longer will the ISS be of a service to our country. NASA and its subcontractors must get operations working by the 2020 deadline, or maybe we could expect to see the ISS floating off the Pacific Ocean.