A synopsis of where things are in the great debate over the nation’s human space flight program is presented by Kaufman and Eggen of the Washington Post in, Conflict Over NASA Spaceflight Program Complicates Funding.
An interesting point made in the article is that some on the Democratic side of the House might be feeling more sympathetic to commercial crewed space. That will be relevant if the House votes on its 2010 NASA Reauthorization Act before the election recess. After the November 2nd elections however, it certainly stretches credulity to imagine that newly elected Republicans are going to support the President’s initiative any more than the current Republicans, who are, as the article mentions, in near universal opposition.
The article quotes Scott Pace, current director of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University and a Bush-era NASA official, “On both political and substantive grounds, the administration has handled the NASA human spaceflight side badly.” He goes on, “It’s perfectly reasonable for these companies to come out and say why they think they’re going to succeed. But that doesn’t mean the government should take that at face value.”
AmericaSpace Note: Pace is spot-on on both counts; the Administration has bungled its proposed changes to NASA from Day 1 and the claims by the commercial companies have never been backed-up by numbers. As has been stated here, this was a policy and political miscalculation of epic proportions that graduate space policy students will be studying, and shaking their heads over, for…possibly decades. Quite a legacy…
Amusingly, SpaceX CEO Musk seems oblivious as to Shelby’s opposition to SpaceX’s attempt to take the human space flight program away from NASA. Here’s a hint from a Southerner; in the South it is very impolite to bite the hand that feeds you. And the $238 million that NASA has roughly fed SpaceX to develop its Falcon 9 makes for a lot of food. But that mixed with threatening Shelby’s, Alabama’s really, Marshall Space Flight Center was just down-right…misguided to the point of lacking in intelligence.
However, the biggest misunderstanding, naiveté really, by Obama space plan creators and supporters was that Republicans would swoon over the commercial aspects of the President’s plan. They so didn’t get Republicans – the flag always comes first. And it certainly didn’t help when Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, astronauts who planted the flag on the Moon, came out in opposition. That opposition served as the biggest embarrassment of all for the President’s proposed policy.