And the Rumors Start

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Precious little has been said about the specifics of Charlie Bolden’s Wednesday White House meeting with Obama on the future of human spaceflight.  But a “Science Insider” blog post over at AAAS has tongues wagging.  We can’t vouch for the content…and the post is anonymously sourced…so who really knows?  It is worth a look-see, for your reading enjoyment.

But on Friday, the White House said no final decision has been made.

“The meeting with Bolden was informational, not decisional,” said Nick Shapiro, White House spokesman.

“The President confirmed his commitment to human space exploration, and the goal of ensuring that the nation is on a sustainable path to achieving our aspirations in space,” Shapiro said. “Against a backdrop of serious challenges with the existing program, the Augustine Committee has offered several key findings and a range of options for how the nation might improve its future human space flight activities. The two spoke about the Administrator’s work at NASA and they also discussed the Augustine Committee’s analysis.”

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3 Responses to “And the Rumors Start”

  1. charlesthespaceguy Says:

    This could lead to a bumpy road, but maybe after we have adjusted we’ll be on a more sustainable trajectory?
    After the Challenger accident I thought it was a tremendous mistake to switch from full dependence on the Shuttle to trusting those “commercial” rockets. In hindsight, it was the right thing to do. Sure we lost a lot of business to Ariane, Dnepr, Long March, etc etc but people figured out that the cheap option was not always the best option.
    Perhaps the Columbia accident will allow us to end another Government monopoly (one way or the other!!) and switch to commercial companies supplying rockets to get people into space. If we don’t go with US commercial rockets we might be stuck with Russian rockets – if Ares does not turn out to be a lot easier and cheaper than it looks.
    And in the meantime, Burt Rutan has showed us that an airdropped vehicle is truely practical, and might be cheaper and more reliable. They will take a while before they can put anything into orbit, but the path has been illuminated.

  2. bsgarcca Says:

    I work for a company that makes extensive commercial use of space technology. As I talk to some of the more knowledgeable people that work here, many of whom worked on the space program at NASA, I am struck by how many of them believe that the three orbiters are not going to be retired in 2010. The broad consensus is that as we get closer to the deadline in 2010, there will be a re-evaluation of the decision and an extension of the Shuttle program through the time a replacement is available.
    I’m interested to know whether, from your perspective, you consider this just speculation or if there is some truth to it. What makes it so unreasonable?

  3. charlesthespaceguy Says:

    At this late, late, date we could extend the Shuttle a few flights but not much. We have laid off workers, cancelled contracts, etc. We could fly the remaining few flights but insert some delays between flights. We could cobble together some spare parts. But the deed is done – and we will soon be sorry. Hopefully the US will one day again have the capability to do satellite rendezvous and repair, to do EVAs for Hubble type repairs. But we have decided that it is “too dangerous” and “too difficult”. We will now rely on other countries (until about 2020 maybe) that do accept the danger and expense.

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