After news broke out that President Obama is ending NASA’s dreams of establishing lunar bases, the reaction from the pro space community was rather “less than thrilling.”
(Lunar News Network) It’s all over. The U.S. is getting out of the manned space exploration business. The Obama Administration has decided not to fund the Constellation program. NASA will not return to the Moon and go on to Mars and beyond. The dream is dead.
(The Write Stuff) Administration officials and a former astronaut on Wednesday called President Barack Obama’s plans for NASA “exciting” and “bold”, saying that he was replacing a failed moon program with a new $6 billion project to develop commercial rockets capable of taking astronauts into orbit. [...]
But conspicuous by its absence was any mention of a commitment to develop a new government owned and operated “heavy-lift” rocket capable of taking humans beyond the low Earth Orbit.
While some see this move as killing America’s future among the heavens, this manuaver will actually force NASA to do something that they should have done from the very beginning–aggressively partner with the private sector (aka New Space).
In fact, this is actually what President Obama proposed when re-charting NASA’s course.
(New York Times) President Obama will end NASA’s return mission to the moon and turn to private companies to launch astronauts into space when he unveils his budget request to Congress next week, an administration official said Thursday.
The shift would “put NASA on a more sustainable and ambitious path to the future,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
While NASA has accomplished some extraordinary achievements during it’s life time (landing on the Moon being one of them), the price tag in doing so is not worth the extra deficits if the only result is more flag poles and foot prints.
If humanity is to ever conquer the final frontier, then they need to learn how to not only live off world, but thrive there too–both literally and fiscally.
Giving New Space the American reigns may not bring comfort to many people (as the chance of failure is potentially large).
But to simply fund NASA attempts at making space accessable to all (while skyrocketing the costs) and expecting different results is–whether you like it or not–the definition of insanity.
– Posted from my iPhone