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NASA Unveils Sweeping New Programs For Next 5 Years 278

Posted by timothy
from the now-another-sweeping-announcement dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that after terminating the Constellation program, which was to develop rockets to return humans to the moon, NASA has announced that instead it will focus on developing commercial flights of crew and cargo to the ISS and long-range technology to allow sustained exploration beyond Earth's orbit, including exploration by humans. 'We're talking about technologies that the field has long wished we had but for which we did not have the resources,' says NASA administrator, Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr. 'These are things that don't exist today but we'll make real in the coming years. This budget enables us to plan for a real future in exploration with capabilities that will make amazing things not only possible, but affordable and sustainable.'"
"Among the new programs is an effort known as Flagship Technology Demonstrations, intended to test things like orbital fuel depots and using planetary atmospheres instead of braking rockets to land safely, a program that will cost $6 billion over the next five years and will be run by the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Kennedy Space Center in Florida is to get $5.8 billion over five years to develop a commercial program for carrying cargo and astronauts to the space station. These new programs will be 'extending the frontiers of exploration beyond the wildest dreams of the early space pioneers,' added Bolden."
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NASA Unveils Sweeping New Programs For Next 5 Years

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  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Friday April 09, 2010 @08:59AM (#31788232) Homepage
    The Slashdot summary quotes the New York Times as "after terminating the Constellation program...", but the real quote uses the subjunctive: "President Obama’s plan for space, announced this year, would terminate the Constellation program." Obama doesn't write the budget bill, Congress does. And according to a March 24 Orlando Sentinel [orlandosentinel.com] blog, "House panel vows to save Constellation":

    Members of the U.S. House panel with direct oversight of NASA vowed Wednesday to oppose White House plans to cancel the Constellation moon rocket program, calling the proposal a “deficient” idea that could jeopardize U.S. leadership in space exploration.

    The criticism, from both Republicans and Democrats, underscores the difficulty that President Barack Obama faces in convincing Congress of his plan, which would terminate Constellation and instead rely on commercial rockets to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station.

    I predict that the usual political sausage factory will preserve some part of Constellation. Look how long the F-22 lived on life support.

  • by GooberToo (74388) on Friday April 09, 2010 @11:56AM (#31790360)

    Take a look at how the automobile has developed since the 60's and tell me that the private sector doesn't do anything "inspiring". (As long as there is some regulatory oversight for safety)

    So to say it correctly, "Thank you Mr. Government". They, US companies anyways, did nothing which was not forced on them by oversight, regulation, and new laws. Most of the cool new technology didn't even come from US companies. It actually came from foreign auto makers who actually invest in long term R&D.

    You need to keep in mind, something like fuel injection existed during the 50s and 60s but wasn't widely introduced into vehicles until the government mandated better economy.

    So realistically, at the end of the day, you can thank government and foreign companies which are not completely fucked up like American companies are. American companies don't understand the word, "long term". And if they use those words, its an absolute fact they are lying. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, but not with US car companies.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday April 09, 2010 @12:03PM (#31790498) Journal
    You do realize that currently on the fed balance sheet there are more than a trillion dollars worth of mortgage backed securities that we've bought from banks, right? There's a reason the banks were able to pay TARP back so quickly, the money hole was just moved from one pile to another. The AIG, Bear Stearns, and auto-company bailouts were small in comparison. Check out the current Fed balance sheet for more info [wsj.com].
  • by SeattleGameboy (641456) on Friday April 09, 2010 @01:33PM (#31791840) Journal
    Mod this reply up! The main reason why the big banks are doing well now is because of two things:

    1. Government took over risky stuff off their balance sheet so they were not in such dire straits any more.

    2. Government pumped ENORMOUS amount of liquidity into the system so that borrowing is free. It is easy to make money when you borrow for nothing and lend it out for 5%.

    All these have long term costs for the government and we will all start feeling it real soon while the bankers will be giving themselves billions on how "well" they made it out.

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