Obama May Cancel Space Shuttle Replacement

WASHINGTON — U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s NASA transition team is asking U.S. space agency officials to quantify how much money could be saved by canceling the Ares 1 rocket and scaling back the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle next year.

Obama pledged during his campaign to inject an additional $2 billion into NASA aimed in part at narrowing the gap between the space shuttle’s retirement and the introduction of a successor system.

While NASA Administrator Mike Griffin and his senior managers are adamant that Ares and Orion are the right vehicles to fill that role, Obama did not endorse either system by name during his campaign.


Good, Godspeed. That’s about the last thing we need to be spending money on.

I disagree. I think space exploration is a good thing. And even if we completely eliminated NASA, we would save very little. It consumes only a very small fraction of our budget. So I doubt delaying or eliminating the Ares 1 rocket or Orion CEV would do much.

This is why we can’t stop going to space.

Chinese rocket fuel lands US scientist in jail
China has big plans for space, and big plans require big rockets. To properly handle an essential supply of liquefied hydrogen for its new launch facility on Hainan Island, China needed help from abroad, and an American physicist from Virginia was perhaps too eager to lend a hand. - Peter J Brown (Nov 19,'08)

Indeed. If the Chinese overtake us in space and achieve space superiority, it would give them a significant strategic advantage. Of course, that isn’t the only reason I support space exploration.

Space Exploration and NASA has provided us with a great deal of technology for us on earth. It would be unfortunate for him to make a cut there. Why not make a promise that each state’s house and senate delegation will be limited to one “special project” (aka earmark/pork) each congressional session in the federal budget, and that this cannot exceed a certain percentage of the federal budget. That would cut out a lot of current spending.

That is very true. Here is a rather long document that discusses many of these technology transfers: sti.nasa.gov/tto/Spinoff2008/pdf/spinoff2008.pdf

The Orion CEV isn’t much good without the Ares to boost it.

And the Russians will be getting a multi-billion dollar space station to do with basically as they please…

Seconded. The last thing we need to do is clip the wings on young people’s dreams of reaching for the stars, just because it would cut a few costs.

We could always, oh I dunno, let business in on the deal. Save government dollars, competition such that the Government can choose the best and safest rocket.

There is nothing a government can do that cannot be done better by the private sector.

Yeah, why does the USA need to be in space? China can take care of that for the world now that China is the new superpower.

So we should spend billions in space to match those evil Chinese and Russians? I hardly know what to say…

I would think Christians would recognize that there are greater priorities here in earth.

The fact is a nation like China is a nondemocratic totalitarian regime that squashes freedom and abuses human rights. And dominance in space is an important strategic advantage, not all that different from sea or air dominance on Earth. Allowing such a nation to become the world’s dominant superpower (space dominance is a big step in that direction) would not bode well for the rest of us. The average Chinese is not evil but its government comes as close as possible to fulfilling the meaning of that word.

Eliminating NASA won’t fix our problems on Earth. I’m sorry, it won’t. You’d get more money by eliminating pork, eliminating useless programs and agencies, etc. NASA isn’t one of them. Technologies created for space have had spin-offs for medicine, computers, engineering, etc, right here on Earth. It actually helps us to solve some of our planet’s problems. There are some people alive, today, because of some of the medical developments from space technologies.

You want to fight things like poverty, disease, homelessness, etc, I’m with you. However, eliminating an important program like NASA won’t do it.

Robert Zubrin, aerospace engineer and strong proponent of a manned mission to Mars, produced figures showing that private enterprise could take us to Mars at a fraction of the cost that it would take the government. He then outlined a plan that the government could use to encourage them to do so. I don’t remember specifics but it was quite impressive.

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