…about our national priorities? Follow GorT here for a minute and then ask that question.
In 2008, Obama spoke about the space program and said the following:
“When I was growing up, NASA inspired the world with achievements that we’re still proud of…
“Today we have an administration that sets ambitious goals for NASA without giving NASA the support it needs to reach them. As a result, NASA’s had to cut back on research, trim their program, which means that after the space shuttle shuts down in 2010, we’re going to have to rely on Russian space craft to keep us into orbit.
“So let me be clear: we cannot cede our leadership in space. That’s why I’m going to close the gap, ensure that our space program doesn’t suffer when the shuttle goes out of service. We may extend an additional shuttle launch. We’re going to work with Bill Nelson to add at least one flight after 2010 by continuing to support NASA funding, by speeding the development of the shuttle’s successor, by making sure that all those who work in the space industry in Florida do not lose their jobs when the shuttle is retired because we cant afford to lose their expertise. But more broadly, we need a real vision for the next stage of space exploration….”
In 2010, President Obama cancelled the Constellation program. Congress pushes for a heavy-lift vehicle program to start immediately, not in five years. In 2011, a White House-Congress deal removes $250M from NASA’s budget which had already been set to a flat amount for five years. In April of 2012, the Russian Space Agency and European Space Agency announce that they have agreed to cooperate on the 2016 and 2018 orbiter and landers ExoMars missions – which includes capabilities that NASA was to provide being replaced by Russia.
Of course, the Obama Administration has hit the “Reset” button on Russian-American relations but as we’ve all seen, that relationship is strained at best and more likely soured. Soured at a time where we are dependent on Russian capabilities for heavy-lift delivery to space. Soured at a time where we narrowly miss a solar flare impact that could prove significantly destructive to the world (some estimates put it at over $2.6T in damages).
So what is NASA busy doing with its reduced/flattened budget? They have been directed to study what causes the collapse of civilizations. One might think that they would be better off spending our tax monies on space programs and protection efforts.
So really, what are our national priorities and has the Obama Administration positioned us such that we’re in a mess of a situation where our space program is crippled and unable to meet national needs and our foreign relations leave us without options?