NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, while on an official visit to Israel, is reported in Space News, in an article titled, “”Bolden: New Space Policy Will Stress Cooperation”, to have brought up the issue of whether astronauts really are needed in space. From Space News,
Speaking just days before the White House was set to unveil its new human spaceflight policy, Bolden said: “Unless we change our minds — and I don’t think that’s going to happen — we’re at the end of the space shuttle era. … We’re also approaching a time when we’ll have to answer, ‘Do we really need astronauts in space?”
Wow…and all the more remarkable because not only will President Obama be the first to take NASA out of the business of building rockets to send astronauts into orbit, but NASA Administrator Bolden is the first to imply that maybe astronauts aren’t that important after all.
Here’s what we know so far about President Obama’s Space Plan: