Of course that is what the space world is hoping the Obama Administration will do by the end of this month…light the candle on NASA’s next chapter in piloted space exploration…
Now if someone tells you they know what the White House is going to do – they are probably lying – unless that someone happens to be the President, the President’s Science Advisor – or NASA administrator Charlie Bolden. We do know this – the President will deliver his State of the Union address and then roll out his budget by the first week in February. Surely we will know something concrete by then.
Safe to say Obama is going to sanction more international partnerships in space – a greater role for the private sector to build rockets – and a a mandate that NASA push the exploration envelope…So where does that leave your favorite space vehicle? Well if it is the shuttle – headed for the Smithsonian – don’t hold your breath for a reprieve for the orbiters…If you are a fan on the Constellation plan – the Ares 1 – a trip back to the moon- you have some friends in Congress.
Late last year, Alabama Senator Richard Shelby engineered a rules change that requires congressional approval of any big change to human exploration plans. As Keith Jackson might say – “Who Nellie – we have a donnybrook here.” So stay tuned.