Hey Space Placers!
NASA will be discussing its' budget next week and I look forward to seeing the outcome of these discussions. For all that NASA does - aeronautical (in the atmosphere involving aircraft) and space related (manned and unmanned) the US taxpayer gets a good bargain for just a smidgen over $18 billion a year. The King of Pyramid Schemes looted over $50 billion out of his clients and we spend $100's of billions per year on gambling and our pets. Puts it in perspective - at least for me. NASA is cheap in terms of cost vs. benefit and make no mistake about it - we need the US space program as a nation and a species.
The budget talks are going to show that NASA has not been given sufficient funding for the tasks that Congress has mandated it to do - build a heavy lift vehicle and get the US back into manned spaceflight following the retirement of the shuttles this year - more on that in a bit.
There are several plans on the table for commercial spacecraft companies to use shuttles and the solid rocket boosters for keeping the US in the manned spaceflight business by as early as 2013. Some plans involve using the Ares 1X launch vehicle, some the Orion manned space capsule and others the shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis. Again, this is thinking being done by private space companies.
We have invested billions, yes billions in developing the Ares 1X manned rated launch vehicle, the heavy lift vehicle called Ares V and the Orion space capsule. The hardware is still being built even though the full scale Constellation program was ended by the President last year.
See a YouTube video on the building of the Orion Ground Test Article Command Module:
NASA is in a flux as to where it is to go funding and hardware wise. Let's hope something gets resolved that salvages the billions spent already and gets the US back into the manned spaceflight program and going SOMEWHERE other than Low Earth Orbit (LEO)....the Moon or an asteroid.
I can guarantee you the Chinese are going to do it......seen their China commercials that promote their spaceflight program by zooming out from their Taikonauts????
Sky Guy in VA