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Jan. 30 2010 - 4:39 pm | 686 views | 1 recommendation | 8 comments

Good Night Moon

Ares I-X Launch.  Source:  NASA/Scott Andrews, Cannon

Ares I-X Launch. Source: NASA/Scott Andrews, Cannon

No bucks – no buck Rogers – Our sources tell us NASA is no longer headed back to the moon – or anywhere else for that matter.
After spending upwards of 9 billion dollars to design the Ares 1 rocket – the Orion space capsule – the altair lunar lander -all collectively known as the Constellation Project -  NASA is being told by the Obama white house to scrap the whole program. The Vision for Space Exploration rolled out by George Bush 6 years ago this month – was never funded properly – and never gelled with the public.

NASA will get a little more money in its budget – which is more than most federal agencies can say – for Earth Science the International space station and for Commercial Orbital Transportation Services - or COTS – which envisions privately operated rocket rides to the space station. But nowhere near the dollars needed to chart a course for manned exploration beyond low earth orbit.
Grim news for those of us who care about human exploration of space – even worse if your livliehood depends on it. For more, I talked to John Karas – VP and General Manager of Human Space flight for Lockheed Martin – prime contractor for the Orion capsule:


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  1. collapse expand

    A good start. Now we need to down-size the Empire and get out of places where we don’t belong so that we can pay attention to the USA.

  2. collapse expand

    I have been lucky enough to witness the making of the first non-governmental astronaut. I reported about it a few years back – http://www.merlinsilk.com/2007/04/21/from-mohave-to-aldebaran/. With this experience I can not say that I am too sad about the probable cancellation of the constellation program. Yes, it was cool to get to the moon and have that ISS up there right now, but let’s be a bit more realistic when we look at things only a government can do – looking – looking – hmm, nothing really! The only thing governments really do is extract money from the population (by force, I may add) and give it to the real people who actually do the job. Not to forget to first skim off a bigger portion to feed a bunch of in efficient bureaucrats.
    I wonder why, on the one hand, we make fun of all these bureaucrats, and then suddenly turn around and believe that they are the only ones who can handle things – like building roads and keeping order after Catrina.
    The only thing worth considering is really how to get them out of our lives altogether, not allowing them to regulate things they have no knowledge and competence in. I am nearly sure that we would have colonies at least on the moon if the government would have stayed out of the space business. Yes, we might have had some more accidents because private enterprises tend to take more risks than governments (as they don’t have to be re-elected,) but isn’t that the price we pay for fast progress?
    I have to admit that I had been deeply disappointed by this constellation program which was a step back from a real space ship, a design that one day might reach Aldebaran. Back to a capsule that splashes into the ocean after we had the orbiter that could land on a runway? Give me a break! I am actually sure that Bush, with his vision of going to the moon and beyond, was just trying to get into the league of real visionaries like Kennedy with this “Before this decade is up.”

  3. collapse expand

    That John Karas is sure jumpy! Was he real nervous? He sure had to watch what he said – as a Lockheed guy he can’t criticize the United Launch Alliance. He has to defend his Orion. Hopefully Falcon/Dragon will work, but he is correct that you have to count on a long and expensive test program! For Ares or Falcon.

  4. collapse expand

    I think it is important to note that the details will be disclosed at the upcomming meeting.
    Over the long term, SpaceX will gather momentum from this; unfortunately, private investors do not see a timely gain and this is the risky and real development. The “whole” Constellation Program is not dead – see the details on next week’s news.

    Otherwise, You guys do an Awesome show.

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    About Me

    I am a 26-year broadcast news veteran - with nearly 17 years as CNN’s science, aerospace, technology and environment correspondent. I am an active pilot, airplane owner and a lover of all things that fly. I was slated to be the first journalist to fly on the space shuttle before the Columbia accident ended that dream. I am based in New York City - married with two teenagers and two dogs.

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