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President Obama and NASA

By Kim Miller - Posted on 16 April 2010

Much is being said and bantered about President Obama's direction for NASA. Because I live in Space City USA (Houston), I get to hear more than I care to these days.

NPR has an excellent point-by-point review of the different programs and how they will be affected by Obama's decisions.

Here is my take on each of the programs:

1. The Space Shuttle: George W. Bush put in place a plan to retire the Shuttle program in 2004, to make room for his plan to return to the moon. Not surprisingly, the mass of Bush supporters here have conveniently forgotten that Bush was the one who decided to scrap the Shuttle because they're quick to blame President Obama.

2. Constellation: It was due to be scrapped because of long-term underfunding (again, not the current president's fault); Obama, however, revived one component of the Constellation program: the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.

3. The Space Station: Obama decided to extend the program by five years, out to 2020.

4. Private Space Taxis: Obama's primary focus in the space field is to start a new industry -- corporate spacecraft builders. Funny, all the chatter about Obama being about bigger government, yet he's not getting credit for finding a private sector solution rather than a public one (NASA).

5. Heavy Lift Launcher: for interplanetary missions and deep space exploration. Obama committed $3.1 Billion to design and build the vehicle by 2015.

6. Return to the moon: "We've been there before," Obama said. Instead, he wants to focus on destinations no one else has gone before. (Cue all Trekkies...)

My summary of the issue: President Obama is catching a great deal of flak over his policies regarding NASA and the space program. I've tried to find fault in it, just to try to see what the skeptics are talking about. I truly can't find any. The biggest fear here in Houston is that the Texas jobs will be lost, and that Obama prefers the Florida programs. If that's true, it is upsetting to me as well. When Bill Clinton took office, one of his first acts was to decimate NASA; the Houston program was hit very hard and our economy took a beating. However, I'm willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. It's very clear he appreciates the space program and the larger good it provides our country.

I was very happy with the decision to leave off going to the moon. In terms of ideology, I don't believe that for the cost it is a good investment to send people to the moon.  Yes there is an outside chance that a human eye will pick up something that the engineers didn't plan for, but the odds of that happening are pretty small.  When funds are tight robotics are the most cost effective way to explore space. In terms of effect on me personally, my husband works for JPL and it is more likely that their programs will now have chance to be funded. (sorry Kim)

In regards to the space taxis I'm all over it.  If they can bust their way past suborbital velocities efficiantly it will be a great day for America. We went to the launch of SpaceShipOne (Scaled Composite company and Virgin Atlantic) and it was amazing.  There are those in the spacer community here that claim NASA is holding them back, but the only way I can see that that is the case is by controlling the launching pads.  Scaled Composites got out of that by flying out of Mojave, CA. As it is, at government controlled launch pads, private industry launching satallites have priority over government scienctific launches, according to my dearest hubby). I don't know where space tourism is in that line up.  I would be furious to see the science missions pushed back in the line up so that the uber wealthy can have their x amount of time in suborbital space though.



I have mixed feelings.

I'm good on manned missions to Mars, but before that we really need to return to the Moon. It's like a waystation to the other planets and other places in the solar system.

So I'm opposed to not going back to the moon, if that double negative makes any sense. I am in favor of investing in space exploration of any stripe, though. 

And Obama's promotion of private space vehicles is just another aspect of his socialism and hatred of free enterprise (rolls eyes).

Back to the moon,,,you have to go once to go back...................................................LOL,,,kidding. When I saw the title I thought maybe they were sending Obama to the moon..I was like..................dang, I do love you guys, just wanted to come in and say hey once more!!lol..................there were no feelings harmed in the making of this post.'re entirely too young to believe the moon landings were fake....That was the old farts, back when I was young. lol
back when you were young, the moon was there back then?? ..........................................................maybe its time to have a comeback troll of the year award. 

Yep....and we thought it was made out of green cheese. lol

Seriously, I watched the first man walk on the moon.  We all used to sit glued to our television sets, praying and afraid, every time a mission blasted far back as the first man to orbit the earth.  Do you know who that was (without looking it up) ? 

I even remember my parents taking me outside at night to watch the Sputnik as it passed overhead. Quick...without google...what was Sputnik? 

I do think it's time for a return of the Blakey troll....I miss him.  Just be real careful with the "old"  jokes.  ;-)

i knew the guy had a goofy name but yeah I had to look it up.....Sputnik I thought it was a satellite, really knew nothing about it though but ya got me to look it up also..

  I will be careful with the old jokes...I will do my best to think up new ones.

ROFL....You are too funny.  But I'll bet it was interesting looking up the old space program info, considering where we are today.  I'm glad I was around to witness it and remember, even if that has to make me O-L-D!  ;-D

Stephen Colbert is coming to Houston sometime in May to endure astronaut training!  How much fun will that be?  Can hardly wait. 


Speaking of which he had a coupld of things about the Space program and Obama in the past two weeks. Don't need to tell you that though. (:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Stephen Saves the Space Program
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Fox News
I posted these next two videoes here last week (they're from Apr 8th), but it's worth it if you didn't see it. One is an interview with one of my favorite guests that i've seen on Conan/Stewart/Colbert, one of the guys behind the downgrade of Pluto: Neil deGrasse Tyson.
The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Final Final Frontier
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Fox News
The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Fox News

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