It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Many people were left gasping when President Obama unveiled his new plan for outer space, including his proposal to cancel NASA's Constellation program. It turns out that the great recession of 2008 and 2009 has claimed yet another victim, and this time it's the manned exploration of the Universe.
As if President Obama doesn't already have enough on his plate, between health care, Afghanistan, education reform, budget deficits, etc., he now plans to visit Florida this month to host a space summit and discuss his Administration's new plans for the space program. According to the White House's official release: "The President and the NASA Administrator both believe that we have to be forward thinking and aggressive in our pursuit of new technologies to take us beyond low-Earth orbit."
In fact, over 4,500 people may lose their jobs outright when the space shuttle is phased out in the new strategy. Not to mention that over $9 billion was already spent on research to create the replacement for the space shuttle, the Ares 1 booster rocket. NASA's website states that "the Ares 1 is the essential core of a safe, reliable, cost-effective space transportation system—one that will carry crewed missions back to the moon, on to Mars and out into the solar system."
What does this all mean? It means that in the near term we'll have to depend on the Russians for access to outer space. Eventually—and this is the ultimate goal—we aim to get private enterprise to take over the manned space program. In the future, perhaps you'll see a Coca-Cola advertisement on the booster rockets as astronauts go into outer space with a Google logo on their space suits.
The private sector, as you stated has no experience sending life into space and bringing them back, ALIVE.
That is one large step, I hope it happens, we need to start thinking about the "big picture", and disregard profits.
But to be perfectly honest, if I had the money, I'd already be signed up to go on Virgin Galactic's maiden voyage
Maximum Allowable Payload:
C-130E, 42,000 pounds (19,090 kilograms)
C-130H, 42,000 pounds (19,090 kilograms)
C-130J, 42,000 pounds (19,090 kilograms)
C-130J-30, 44,000 (19,958 kilograms)
Originally posted by theability
Yet again, that is exaclty why we have NASA! So for this to work, someone has to start inventing real, in-expensive-reliable means of achieving orbit.
How is that accomplished?
Originally posted by jra
I think it's a bit premature to say that NASA's glory days are over, just because they won't be launching there own astronauts themselves anymore (if the Ares I gets cancelled).
The Shuttles are expensive to maintain and launch. Taking this responsibility away from NASA frees up a lot of money for them to do other things. They can focus more on exploration and on R&D of new technologies. Let the private sector take over doing the "mundane" part of launching stuff into orbit.
I think the best way to achieve reliable and inexpensive spaceflight is with the private sector. In order for it to be profitable, it needs to be affordable to others as well as reliable and safe. Government agencies by nature, are just really inefficient with spending money.
I'm all for a mix of Government and Private spaceflight. I think it's the only way to go, if we want to get anywhere in space.