Glenda

t-thirty something




{08:30 ~ Video clip, President Obama @ Twitter Town Hall} But now what we need is that next technological breakthrough. We’re still using the same models for space travel that we used with the Apollo program 30, 40 years ago. And so what we’ve said is, rather than keep on doing the same thing, let’s invest in basic research around new technologies that can get us places faster, allow human space flight to last longer. And what you’re seeing now is NASA I think redefining its mission. And we’ve set a goal to let’s ultimately get to Mars. A good pit stop is an asteroid. I haven’t actually — we haven’t identified the actual asteroid yet, in case people are wondering. (Laughter.) But the point is, let’s start stretching the boundaries so we’re not doing the same thing over and over again, but rather let’s start thinking about what’s the next horizon, what’s the next frontier out there. » Remarks by the President in Twitter Town Hall : East Room, July 06, 2011, 2:04pm to 3:12pm EDT

{09:53 ~ Mark Matthews} What Obama was doing right there was essentially restarting the debate that he started in February 2010, in which he unveiled his budget proposal that essentially — they would cancel the Constellation program, which was the program set underneath President Bush. And he wanted to really push NASA to begin a new phase of R&D research in order to eventually be able build the type of technology that could enable a mission to Mars, to an asteroid or some other destination. And that decision in February of last year ignited a debate that we're still fighting today as to what we do next. That Obama truly wanted to push NASA away from the type of big rocket program that a lot of folks in Congress still wanted to see and from that point there was about a six or seven month debate, until last year finally the White House and Congress agreed to cancel Constellation, but embark on a new path that would build a shuttle-derived type vehicle and keep essentially the capsule from Constellation. And right now NASA's working on the finer points of that rocket design, but the debate about whether or not this program is feasible is still ongoing.

{14:10 ~ Scott Pace} …that talent is the most precious thing I think that the community has, and I think one of the things that causes a risk of talent is instability. And if you look back as to where we were say 30 months ago to where we are today — at T plus 30, if you will — into the administration. You find that the industry feels much more unstable. There's been a number of congressional testimony about that — they don't know really what's next or what they're going to be doing. You find our international partners feeling much more unstable because they don't know what comes after the International Space Station or what they're going to participate in. And you find that the Congress has gone through a very difficult bipartisan discussion of the last 30 months where they themselves have had difficulty seeing where we're going to be going next. So, the Congress woman is quite right that money is tight, but the NASA top line, I don't think, is really the problem, the problem really has been the instability that the program has suffered in the last 30 months. [14:25. T-30]

{22:20 ~ Scott Pace} …I think that we need to run a technology program that is directed toward missions. It's very very dangerous in the NASA world to have open-ended technology that's not directed and dedicated toward a future mission, because otherwise it becomes incredibly easy to cut. I think that you also have to have a transition plan to get you away from what you're doing now to what you're going to be doing next. The administration has taken arguably a very high-risk — potentially high payoff — approach in this reliance on new technology and commercial sources. But to me it is a very very high-risk approach. I would have preferred a approach that continued with aspects of shuttle-derived vehicles — not continuing to fly the shuttle but to build the next generation of systems using known technology and existing components, and then bringing in new technology and bringing in commercial systems on a more evolutionary way. The administration has taken a much more radical break with that past.

Obama’s 2011 Budget Proposal: How It’s Spent
interactive

General science, space, and technology
$31.44 billion
Science, Exploration, and NASA supporting activities
2010: $11.86 billion
2011: $12.78 billion
Change: +7.8%

Fiscal Year 2010 » NASA (PDF)

Fiscal Year 2011 » NASA (PDF)

Initiates flagship exploration technology development and demonstration programs of “gamechanging” technologies… Embraces the commercial space industry and the thousands of new jobs that it can create… Ends NASA’s Constellation program, which was planning to use an approach similar to the Apollo program

Space Shuttle Atlantis STS-135 launch 2011-07-08
starts at T-9:00, T-31s at 07:46