Well I’d been fearing Obama’s speech today for quite some time. Ever since word started to trickle out about the President’s plan for the US Space Program, I’d been a little skittish. It didn’t sound good. Today he was in Florida to give a speech outlining his plan for NASA in the coming decades.
I’m quite disappointed in what we got. Obama has canceled the program that would be the Space Shuttle’s replacement. Leaving the United States stranded on Earth without asking for help from Russia for the foreseeable future. That’s not what bothers me. Constellation was supposed to take us back to The Moon as well. And this was where we should have been going. We should be going back to The Moon. By stating that, “We’ve been there before” he’s completely missing the point. Going back to Luna meant setting up a permanent presence there. A presence that would produce incredible science and immeasurable resources for coming generations. All en route to Mars. Not just stopping by again to play in the sand.
Yes, he wants to send us to Mars. But first, he intends to send humans to an asteroid. A mission to an asteroid is worthless except for PR. Robots have worked extraordinarily well for this kind of exploration. We can have men on Mars in the same timeframe he is proposing, even while setting up shop on the Moon first. His plan is a misstep.
Doing a heavy lift rocket for 2015 is a good start, but that’s where it ends. The Constellation Program may have had issues, but I believe it’s aim was true. He should have gotten it back on track instead of killing it. Now we are left with not only starting from scratch, but headed off-course. Not good.
One thing that is encouraging is his support of privatization. If private companies are going to be building the launch vehicles for our space program, I hope those same companies have the wherewithal to sell these spaceships to other private business as well. If Barry is not going to take us to The Moon; then Virgin Galactic, Hilton, McDonald’s, and Starbucks will.