Tuesday, February 23, 2010

NASA Changes: Yes, that's it exactly

A lot has been written about the recent changes in NASA's mission and funding, including the cancellation of the under-funded Constellation "back to the Moon" program and the proposal to rely more on commercial space companies to support Earth orbital operations for both cargo and astronauts. I basically agree with this decision, and I hope that Mars will eventually be emphasized (and funded) as the next big destination for human space flight. I was busy with other things when much of this discussion was going on, but I just found an essay by Michael Belfiore that really sums up my feelings. He wrote a guest analysis for Popular Mechanics on February 1 entitled Human Space Flight Needn't Rely on NASA. This is a very clear-headed and succinct essay on this issue, and its final line on the new direction for NASA rings true:
JFK's let's-go-to-the-moon-in-this-decade battle cry it isn't. But in some ways it's even more exciting, because it points the way to truly sustainable development in space.
The picture above shows Elon Musk of SpaceX standing by his company's Falcon 9 launch vehicle which will launch for the first time this spring.

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