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BHO to ask Congress for $1 bn more in NASA funding next year

Dec 26, 2007
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http://blogs.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2009/12/exclusiveobama.html

President Barack Obama will ask Congress next year to fund a new heavy-lift launcher to take humans to the moon, asteroids, and the moons of Mars, ScienceInsider has learned. The president chose the new direction for the U.S. human space flight program Wednesday at a White House meeting with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, according to officials familiar with the discussion. NASA would receive an additional $1 billion in 2011 both to get the new launcher on track and to bolster the agency’s fleet of robotic Earth-monitoring spacecraft.

The current NASA plan for human exploration is built around the $3.5 billion Constellation program, which would provide a way to get humans to the space station and beyond. But its initial launcher, Ares 1, has faced a string of cost and technical problems, and it was excluded from several options for future space flight put forth earlier this year by an outside panel chaired by retired aerospace executive Norman Augustine. Although that panel suggested a $3 billion boost to NASA's $18.7-billion-a-year budget in order to take a firm next step in human space flight, Obama's support for a $1 billion bump next year represents a major coup for the agency given the ballooning deficit and the continuing recession. And NASA just won a $1 billion boost from Congress for 2010 in a bill signed by the president.

According to knowledgeable sources, the White House is convinced that scarce NASA funds would be better spent on a simpler heavy-lift vehicle that could be ready to fly as early as 2018. Meanwhile, European countries, Japan, and Canada would be asked to work on a lunar lander and modules for a moon base, saving the U.S. several billion dollars. And commercial companies would take over the job of getting supplies to the international space station.

“The decision is not going to make anyone gasp,” said one source in the White House, which hopes to ease congressional concerns about the impact of the new plan on existing aerospace jobs. But the decision, which has not yet been formally announced, is sure to spark opposition from Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and other members who fear that any change to the current Constellation rocket program will lead to mass layoffs in their states. Indeed, Shelby inserted language into the final 2010 spending bill for NASA requiring congressional approval before any changes are made to Constellation.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush proposed sending humans back to the moon in 2004. Since that time, however, interest has grown in other destinations. While the U.S. partners focus on lunar exploration, the White House is more intrigued by missions to asteroids and Phobos and Deimos as a precursor to a human landing on the Red Planet in the distant future. That option was given particular prominence by Augustine panel members when they testified this fall before congressional committees. To prepare for human visits, NASA may order additional robotic missions to the martian moons and asteroids in coming years.

The new program would jettison Ares 1. To appease congressional critics like Shelby, the Administration hopes to ensure that research and development work on the new rocket would proceed without significant job losses at NASA centers like Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

But Shelby appears to be preparing for battle. In a 14 December letter to NASA’s inspector general, he said that several Augustine panel members were registered lobbyists who took “direct advantage of their temporary roles on the Commission to further their personal business.” He asked the inspector general to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.

Augustine could not be reached for comment. The panel did include the president of a company that stands to gain from a recompetition of the new launcher, but none of the committee members were registered lobbyists, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel. But there were numerous staffers from industry backgrounds who helped compile the Augustine report released in October. Shelby’s press secretary, Jonathan Graffeo, did not return calls requesting comment.

The report has kindled heated debate within Congress, the aerospace industry, and the White House regarding what direction the president should take. Obama chose from several options presented to him by NASA, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Those options included keeping the budget flat and delaying a new launcher, building a heavy-lift launcher with an additional $1 billion for the agency, ramping up NASA’s annual budget by $3 billion for an aggressive program, or abandoning space flight altogether and reducing NASA’s budget. The president’s decision to go with the second option is a major departure from his 2010 budget plan, which called for a 5% increase in 2010—the boost just approved by Congress—but then remaining flat through 2014.

It's not clear when the new policy will be formally announced. One White House source said that it could come as early as next week, while another hinted that it would wait until Obama’s State of the Union address in late January. Another possibility is that the decision would simply be part of the president's 2011 budget request to Congress on 1 February. Given the White House's preoccupation with health care and climate change, however, NASA officials and their industry backers see the new policy as welcome proof that Obama also cares about space flight.
I'm all for additional funding of NASA, the only issue I see is the abandonment of the Ares I rocket.
 
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Slew Foot

Lifer
Sep 22, 2005
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NASA is great, but seriously only $1 billion? They should get some guy from Goldman to be on their board, theyll get a blank check.
 

BrownTown

Diamond Member
Dec 1, 2005
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1 billion dollars is nothing, not even worth mentioning in terms of government spending.
 

Schadenfroh

Elite Member
Mar 8, 2003
38,416
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Damn, they are killing Ares I? It was shaping up to be a slick rocket. I have relatives in Huntsville working on it:(
 

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
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One of the few government spending programs I support. Stop wasting money on stupid shit and fund NASA and scientific research.
 

Hacp

Lifer
Jun 8, 2005
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Nasa gets only 1 billion while we waste 15 billion on a heating oil program. If you're cold, wear more clothes! Thats what I do when I'm at home cause we hardly turn on the heat(to save money), even when its freezing.

Obama's priority is welfare first, progress last.
 

First

Lifer
Jun 3, 2002
10,518
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Nasa gets only 1 billion while we waste 15 billion on a heating oil program. If you're cold, wear more clothes! Thats what I do when I'm at home cause we hardly turn on the heat(to save money), even when its freezing.

Obama's priority is welfare first, progress last.
It's as if you want people to point and laugh at your posts. lmao.
 

AyashiKaibutsu

Diamond Member
Jan 24, 2004
9,306
3
81
Nasa gets only 1 billion while we waste 15 billion on a heating oil program. If you're cold, wear more clothes! Thats what I do when I'm at home cause we hardly turn on the heat(to save money), even when its freezing.

Obama's priority is welfare first, progress last.
As opposed to top 1% first, progress last we had for the past 8 years. Atleast it's a small improvement.
 

jman19

Lifer
Nov 3, 2000
11,181
609
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Nasa gets only 1 billion while we waste 15 billion on a heating oil program. If you're cold, wear more clothes! Thats what I do when I'm at home cause we hardly turn on the heat(to save money), even when its freezing.

Obama's priority is welfare first, progress last.
Joke post?
 

Freshgeardude

Diamond Member
Jul 31, 2006
4,510
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good. I like the idea of nasa getting the funding it needs. sucks though, that 1 billion, isnt enough for getting to the moon and beyond.

I just watched the whole season of that show " When we left earth" and they said hubble alone costed 1.25 billion dollars, excluding the millions of dollars after that it has costed fixed it 2 times
 

MovingTarget

Diamond Member
Jun 22, 2003
8,992
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:thumbsup; I support this. NASA has been underfunded for quite some time. I am skeptical about killing Ares 1 though. The new vehicle, a 'heavier lift' one...perhaps they are talking about Ares 5? A Jupiter variant maybe? I don't know. For the US to really have a presence in space, we need both roles filled. A one-size fits all approach won't work for too much longer. Here's hoping the Falcon 9/Dragon system proves itself soon...
 

AyashiKaibutsu

Diamond Member
Jan 24, 2004
9,306
3
81
Give NASA 1 trillion instead of pumping it into banks in the long run would probably yield a better return in investment.
 

ericlp

Diamond Member
Dec 24, 2000
6,082
188
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well, considering Obama spent less on the nasa budget then bush did was kinda sad, but a billion isn't much. He needs to up that about 10 times then maybe they might have a space program some place.
 

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