Jun 5, 2009 | 7
NASA's plans to send humans back to the moon and even beyond, already under scrutiny as part of a White House–mandated review, are facing the prospect of diminished funding as well.
The House subcommittee responsible for science agency budgets has pared back in its appropriations bill the funds that President Barack Obama requested for NASA for fiscal year 2010. According to the Orlando Sentinel, "Most of the cuts were aimed at NASA's human spaceflight program." Obama requested nearly $4 billion for the agency's exploration division, but the House panel recommended trimming that to about $3.3 billion, which is $212 million less than the division's allocation this year, the newspaper reports.
May 8, 2009 | 1
The White House yesterday announced that it will convene a 10-member independent panel to thoroughly review NASA's plans for human spaceflight. The announcement calls into doubt the agency's current cornerstones for manned missions, including the planned replacement for the soon-to-be-retired space shuttle and the stated goal of returning humans to the moon by 2020.
In a teleconference with reporters today, the panel's chair, former Lockheed Martin CEO Norman Augustine, gave few hints as to the future of manned spaceflight in the U.S., saying that his group's mission was simply to "take a fresh look and go where the facts are and basically call it the way we see it."
Apr 23, 2009 | 16
NASA's stated goal of returning humans to the moon by 2020, which received a tentative boost in February with an affirmation in President Barack Obama's budget request for fiscal year 2010, is reportedly now in danger.
According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel quoting unnamed NASA engineers and contractors, the space agency's timelines "are quietly being revised" in light of ongoing technical and budgetary problems. That revision, engineers told the newspaper, means the "2020 date to send humans back to the moon is in deepening trouble."
The agency has pushed back by two years its internal timeline for the scheduled moon launch of Ares V, a planned heavy-cargo carrier rocket, according to the Sentinel report. NASA had reportedly tagged the Ares V with a 2018 internal target—which builds in leeway for unforeseen problems—for a lunar launch, while announcing a 2020 date to the public. Grey Hautaluoma, a spokesperson for NASA, declined to comment on the Sentinel story. "We won't have any comment about our budgets and schedules until the 2010 budget is released next month," Hautaluoma said.
Jan 7, 2009 | 1
Earlier this week, we told you that the incoming Obama administration was reportedly mulling increased cooperation between NASA and the Department of Defense (DoD) to bolster the manned U.S. space program. The media noted the cooperation might include NASA's adopting and modifying military rockets to launch future crewed missions into space. (NASA is currently developing its own rockets to serve that purpose under the embattled Constellation program, which would provide a next-generation transport system following the space shuttle's retirement, presently scheduled for next year.)
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