Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Exploration: Asteroids, Moon and Mars
  The future of U.S. manned space flight

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   The future of U.S. manned space flight
Colin Anderton
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 08-03-2009 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Colin Anderton   Click Here to Email Colin Anderton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've had an opinion about the future of U.S. astronauts in space for the last couple of years, and have hardly dared to think it - still less suggest it to members of this group! I hope and pray that I'm wrong, but here goes...

It is my honest view that when the shuttle ceases flying next year, it will do so with absolutely no firm plans for ANY further manned space missions. Just look at the facts:

The lunar programme - as I predicted long ago - is already starting to exist on paper only. Sure, we've even seen a mock-up of the new Orion capsule. But that's all it is!
I don't see any evidence that the new U.S. administration is particularly enthusiastic.

I actually hope that someone can give me some hope that I am wrong. But hopes alone will not get a future programme off the ground.

What is there - really - to look forward to in manned space flight? Cheer me up, somebody.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-03-2009 11:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is one of those topics that has the potential to either spiral into a political debate or restate the on-going activities that are already well-described elsewhere within this forum.

To try to avoid that, I am going to make a few suggestions that will enable you to answer your own question:

  • If you are interested in seeing what progress exists towards Constellation, to see that there exists much more hardware than an Orion mock-up, see the previous threads in this forum, the features on NASA's website and articles within other space news publications.

  • If you are interested in the current political landscape as it applies to space exploration, you should be watching the Augustine Commission hearings on NASA TV, or read the transcripts from past hearings as posted to their website. The commission is generating options for the future of human space flight.

  • If you are interested in learning how manned space exploration can go forward, you should become active within organizations such as the National Space Society, Mars Society, Space Frontier Foundation and British Interplanetary Society (to name a few), and read their publications, as they all do a commendable job reporting on what is possible and what is happening now.
And to correct a misconception you have regarding the lack of any solid plans for U.S. astronauts to fly after the shuttle is retired: they will fly to the International Space Station, aboard Soyuz, no differently then they did after the loss of Columbia in 2003.

Fra Mauro
Member

Posts: 1017
From: Maspeth, NY
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 08-04-2009 11:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I see the present situation as a crossroads for the U.S. space program, like in the early 1970s when the whole thing was almost shut down. There is an intersting story in this week's Aviation Week saying that the funding for Orion is inadequate and the launch date could slip to 2019! Space is rarely popular with Presidents or Congress and sadly, picking on an agency that takes up less than 1% of the Federal Budget can make for good sound bites with the voters. If we space supporters get involved good things will happen, if not....

cosmos-walter
Member

Posts: 406
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 08-05-2009 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anybody of you know, what are the goals of President Barack Obama concerning space exploration?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-05-2009 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The President has stated a goal of continuing NASA's current work to extend humans beyond low Earth orbit. The Administration has also pledged continuing support of the International Space Station.

To determine the best path forward, the President established the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans committee, otherwise known as the Augustine Commission, to consider both the destinations and means of getting us there.

There is a public meeting of the committee on-going in Washington, DC today, which you can watch on NASA TV.

For a good summary as to what the commission has had to consider to date and the choices it faces, see Eric Berger's Obama's NASA dilemma in a nutshell.

From listening to the presentations, and reading the materials, it seems fairly clear to me that the committee's basic message will be: keep the current budget and have an eviscerated human spaceflight program, or spend more and give programs the funding they need to succeed.

And this is a healthy message for the President to hear.

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 08-05-2009 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Even if the current administration continues to disregard the reality of a rapidly growing deficit and increases NASA's budget to allow initially for a healthy manned space program, any future successor will be under even greater pressure to exercise damage control and cut spending. The outlook is very bleak...

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-05-2009 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There was a growing deficit when the former administration decided NASA should push for the Moon, and Congress backed that decision. There was a growing deficit when the current Administration entered office, and both the President and current Congress have continued to advocate a strong human space flight program.

Even if NASA's budget were to be increased -- and I hope it is -- we are still talking about numbers hovering (at most) around 1% of the federal budget. Cuts to a vibrant space program will only result in losses: both strategic and domestic (e.g. jobs). I think the future is less bleak than some may believe...

cosmos-walter
Member

Posts: 406
From: Salzburg, Austria
Registered: Jun 2003

posted 08-05-2009 10:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cosmos-walter   Click Here to Email cosmos-walter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, thank you very much for the quick response.

ejectr
Member

Posts: 1488
From: Brimfield, MA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 08-05-2009 11:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess I'm just waiting to see what the committee tells the President and then waiting to see what he does with what they tell him, all the while hoping for the best space program we can have with what we can afford to give it.

Fra Mauro
Member

Posts: 1017
From: Maspeth, NY
Registered: Jul 2002

posted 08-10-2009 09:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am encouraged by the work of the Commission but I wonder how many of us space enthusiasts ever let our voices be heard. How many contact the President or Senator or Congressman? Ever write a letter to your newspaper or TV station asking for more Space coverage? I get the impression that we feel helpless and just wait to accept whatever crumbs Congress throws to NASA. Do other advocacy groups do the same? No!

capoetc
Member

Posts: 1705
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 08-10-2009 07:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Obama pledged to restore that interest by "making sure that math and science are cool again, and that we once again keep the goal by 2020 of having the highest college graduation rates of any country on Earth, especially in the math and science fields."

Source: FloridaToday, July 21, 2009

These were the President's words while meeting with the Apollo 11 crew on the 40th anniversary of their landing.

I will be interested if he plans to make science cool again by advocating a robust space program, by directing those funds directly into education programs, or by some other means.

------------------
John Capobianco
Camden DE

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 08-10-2009 07:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by capoetc:
I will be interested if he plans to make science cool again by advocating a robust space program, by directing those funds directly into education programs, or by some other means.
The President's immediate statement preceding the above quote was:
And I think it's very important for us to constantly remember that NASA was not only about feeding our curiosity, that sense of wonder, but also had extraordinary practical applications.
His immediate remarks after the above quote was:
So I think on this 40th anniversary, we are -- all of us thank and grateful to all of you for what you've done, and we expect that there's, as we speak, another generation of kids out there who are looking up at the sky and are going to be the next Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrins. And we want to make sure that NASA is going to be there for them when they want to take their journey.
So in other words, his stated goal was framed by his belief that a strong NASA is important to achieving his objectives.

capoetc
Member

Posts: 1705
From: Newnan GA (USA)
Registered: Aug 2005

posted 08-10-2009 09:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
So in other words, his stated goal was framed by his belief that a strong NASA is important to achieving his objectives.
It looks like he said he'd like to "make sure NASA will be there" ...will the NASA that is "there" be a strong NASA? The future will tell that.

It was not my intent to take any quote out of context, which is why I included a source for the quote. My point is simply to say that it is quite clear what direction funding will take for NASA (flat, which in real dollars is a budget decrease), but I cannot agree that the President is signaling strong support for NASA.

My suspicion is that NASA will receive current funding levels for the out years in the budget. The follow on program for the shuttle will be an incremental program, allowing for "future expansion" when opportunities arise (ie, if future administrations decide to fund it).

The President's budget proposal (not yet approved by Congress) includes pretty much flat funding for NASA through 2014 ($18.7B in 2010, dropping to $18.6B for the next 3 years, then a slight increase to 18.9 in 2014 -- Source: OMB).

Nat'l Science Foundation sees about a 50% increase by 2014 ($6.5B to $9.7B). Dept of Education sees about a 50% increase in funding ($41.4B to $64.5B). Dept's of Defense and Homeland Security see budget decreases. One of the President's pet projects, the "National Infrastructure Bank", begins receiving $5B per year in new spending starting in 2010.

So, I think NASA's budget will remain essentially flat. The question remains, how will they be told to spend the money?

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

teopze
Member

Posts: 160
From: Warsaw, Poland
Registered: May 2008

posted 08-16-2009 10:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for teopze   Click Here to Email teopze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I took a photo, one that, in a sense, reminds me the condition of US Space Programme. Sorry if it makes any of you natives angry... I don't like the fact that I had this thought either.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement