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Space policy of the Barack Obama administration

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

President Obama speaks at KSC's Operations and Checkout Building.
President Obama speaks at KSC's Operations and Checkout Building.
President Obama and Senator Bill Nelson arrive at the Shuttle Landing Facility.
President Obama and Senator Bill Nelson arrive at the Shuttle Landing Facility.

The space policy of the Barack Obama administration was announced by U.S. President Barack Obama on April 15, 2010, at a major space policy speech at Kennedy Space Center.[1] He committed to increasing NASA funding by $6 billion over five years and completing the design of a new heavy-lift launch vehicle by 2015 and to begin construction thereafter. He also predicted a U.S.-crewed orbital Mars mission by the mid-2030s, preceded by the Asteroid Redirect Mission by 2025. In response to concerns over job losses, Obama promised a $40 million effort to help Space Coast workers affected by the cancellation of the Space Shuttle program and Constellation program.

The Obama administration's space policy was made subsequent to the final report of the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee, which it had instituted to review the human spaceflight plans of the United States in the post-Space Shuttle era. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010, passed on October 11, 2010, enacted many of the Obama administration's space policy goals.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Trump vs Obama Intercut Space Speeches


Thank you very much. You don't mind if I do that... get rid of that Thank you, everybody. Thank you Thank you so much Thank you, everybody, please have a seat. Thank you Thank you very much to our great vice president and also for the fantastic job that Mike has been doing. I want to thank senator Bill Nelson and Nasa Administrator Charlie Bolden for their extraordinary leadership. I'd like to extend a special welcome to an American hero Who I've known actually for a long time Buzz Aldrin who is with us today. (Applause) Want to recognize Dr.. Buzz Aldrin as well. Who's in the house? (Applause) Known him a long time. Four decades ago Buzz became a legend but in the fore decades since he's also been one of America's leading visionaries and authorities on human spaceflight. Thank you also to astronauts Benjamin Drew and David Wolfe and Former, Nasa flight Director, Gene, Kranz For being with us and for working with us on exactly what we're doing today. Thank you all very much. We appreciate it Thank you. Thank you few people present company excluded can claim the Expertise of buzz and Bill and Charlie when it comes to space exploration. I have to say that fpeople are as singularly unimpressed by Air force one as those three (Laughter) We're also joined by a great secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross who spent the morning? negotiating trade deals with South Korea couple of other acknowledgments I want to make. We've got Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas visiting us (Applause) a big supporter of the space program (Applause) My director office of science and technology policy in other words my Chief science Advisor John Holdren is here (Applause) And most of all I want to acknowledge Your congresswoman Suzanne cosmos because every time I meet with her including the flight down here She reminds me of how important our Nasa programs are and how important this facility is and she is fighting for Every single one of you and for her district and for the jobs in her district and I you should know that you've got a great champion in congresswoman cosmos, please give her a big round of applause. (Applause) and as you know that trade deal is coming due and it actually came due a couple of weeks ago, and I think uhhhhh... We're going to make a good deal right? I think so. That's what the word is and good for both countries I also want to thank everybody for participating in today's conference. Gathered here are scientists, engineers business leaders Public servants and a few more astronauts as well. And last but not least I want to thank the men and women of Nasa for welcoming me to the Kennedy Space Center and For your contributions not only to America, but to the world here at the Kennedy Space Center We are surrounded by monuments and milestones of those contributions It was from here that Nasa launched the missions of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo It was from here that space Shuttle Discovery piloted by Charlie Bolden carried the Hubble telescope into orbit Allowing us to plumb the deepest recesses of our galaxy and I should point out by the way that in my private office just off the Oval I've got a picture of jupiter from the Hubble, so thank you Charlie for helping to decorate my office the future of American space leadership. We're going to lead again It's been a long time. It's over 25 years and And we're opening up and we are going to be leading again like we've never led before it was from here that men and women propelled by sheer nerve and talent said about pushing the boundaries of humanity's reach. That's the story of Nasa and it's a story that started a little more than half a century ago Far from the space coast in a remote and desolate region of what is now called Kazakhstan? We're a nation of pioneers and the next great American Frontier is space and and we never completed, we started, but we never completed. We stopped but now we start again, and we have tremendous spirit. We're going to have tremendous spirit from the private sector maybe in particular from the private sector. because it was from there that the soviet union launched Sputnik. The first artificial Satellite to orbit the Earth. Which was little more than a few pieces of metal with a transmitter and a battery strapped to the top of a missile? But the world was stunned Americans were dumbfounded the soviets It was perceived had taken the lead in a race For which we were not yet fully prepared. Today. We're taking a crucial step to secure America's future in space by reviving the national Space Council after its was has been dormant almost 25 years if you can believe it But we caught up very quickly President Eisenhower signed legislation to create Nasa and invest in science and math education from Grade school to graduate school in 1961 President Kennedy Boldly declared before a joint session of congress that the united states would send a man to the moon and return him safely to the Earth within the decade And as a nation we set about meeting that goal. During the campaign vice president pence promised that our administration... because Mike's very much into space Would revive the national space council and with this executive order We're keeping that promise Feel very strongly about it, I felt strongly about it for a long time. Reaping rewards that have in the decades since touched every facet of our lives NASA was at the forefront. Many gave their careers to the effort. And some have given far more. In the years that have followed the space race inspired a generation of scientists and Innovators including I'm sure many of you. it's contributed to immeasurable technological advances that have improved our health and well-being. From satellite navigations a water purification. From aerospace manufacturing to medical imaging. I used to say, before doing what I did, I used to say, "What happened?" "Why aren't we moving forward?" And leading the world to space helped America achieve new Heights of prosperity here on Earth? while demonstrating the power of a free and open society To harness the ingenuity of its people. Today's announcement sends a clear signal to the world that we are restoring America's Proud Legacy of Leadership in space. And on a personal note, I... I have been part of that generation, so inspired by the space program. 1961 was the year of my birth. The year that Kennedy made his announcement. And one of my earliest memories is sitting on my grandfather's shoulders Waving a flag as astronauts arrived in Hawaii For me the space program has always captured an essential part of what it means to be an American Reaching for new Heights. Stretching Beyond what previously did not seem possible. Our vice president cares very deeply about space policy... and for good reason. Space exploration is not only essential... to our character as a nation but also our economy... and our great... nation's... security. and so as president. I believe that space exploration is not a luxury it's not an afterthought in America's quest for a brighter future. It is an essential part of that quest. Our travels beyond the Earth propel scientific discoveries that improve our lives... in countless ways here... right here at home. So today I'd like to talk about the next chapter in this story. The challenges facing our space program are different. And our imperatives for this program are different than in decades past. Powering vast new industries spurring Incredible technology... and providing to space security we need to protect the American people and security is going to be a very... big Factor with respect to space and space exploration. We're no longer racing against an adversary We're no longer competing to achieve a singular goal like reaching the moon. In fact, what was once a global competition has long since become a global collaboration. At some point in the future we're gonna look back and say, "How did we do it without space?" While the measure of our achievements has changed a great deal over the past 50 years what we do, or fail to do in seeking new frontiers is no less consequential for our future in space and here on Earth. The vice president will serve as the Council's chair Several representatives of my administration will join him including secretaries of state, defense commerce, transportation and homeland security. So let me start by being extremely clear. I am 100% committed... to the mission of Nasa and its future... because... (Applause) the Chairman... of the great- I'll tell ya, he is doing a fantastic job, always working, always fighting... and winning... winning big against Isis, that I can tell you, seeing what's happening there... the Chairman of the joint Chiefs of staff... National Security, Advisor, NASA and the Director of National Intelligence. (Applause) Because broadening our capabilities in space will continue to serve our society in ways that we can scarcely imagine. Because exploration will once more inspire wonder in a new generation. sparking passions and launching Careers. And because ultimately if we fail to press forward in the pursuit of discovery we are ceding our future and we are ceding that essential element of the American character. The Council will also draw the expertise of other white house offices as well as insights... From scientists Innovators... and business leaders from across the country- have many business leaders that want to be a big part of this, I think private... The privatization of certain aspects is going to be very, it's going to play a very crucial role. Don't you think? They are truly, into it! I know there have been a number of questions raised about my administration's plan for space exploration especially in this part of Florida where so many rely on NASA as a source of income as well as a source of pride and community. And these questions come at a time of transition. As the space Shuttle Nears its scheduled retirement after almost 30 years of service. And understandably this adds to the worries of folks concerned not only about their own futures But about the future of the space program to which they've devoted their lives. This coordination will be accomplished through an advisory group that is being convened by today's executive order, which I'll be signing in a minute. But I also know that underlying these concerns is a deeper worry. One that proceeds not only this plan, but this administration. It stems from the sense that people in Washington... driven sometimes less by vision than by politics have four years neglected NASA's Mission and undermine the work of the professionals who fulfill it. The national space Council will be a central... HUB! guiding space policy within the administration, and I will draw on it for advice and information and recommendations for action. We've seen that in the NASA budget which is risen and fallen, with the political winds But we can also see it in other ways. In the reluctance of those who hold office to set clear achievable objectives. To provide the resources to meet those objectives. And to justify not just these plans but the larger purpose of space exploration in the 21st century. And the vice-president, myself and a few others are going to pick some private people to be on the board. All that has to change. And what the strategy I'm outlining today, it will. I will say that's not easy because everybody wants to be on this board, people that you wouldn't have believed Loved what we're doing so much They want to be- some of the most successful people in the world want to be on this board. We start by increasing NASA's budget by 6 billion dollars over the next five years. (Applause) The human soul yearns for discovery by unlocking the mysteries... of the universe. We had locked truths within ourselves. That's true. I want people to understand the context of this. This is happening even as we have instituted a freeze on discretionary spending and sought to make cuts elsewhere in the budget So NASA from the start, several months ago when I issued my budget was one of the areas where we didn't just maintain a freeze, but we actually increased funding... By six billion dollars! Our journey into space will not only make us stronger and more prosperous But will unite us behind grand ambitions and bring us... all closer together, wouldn't that be nice? Can you believe that space is going to do that? By doing that we will ramp up robotic exploration of the solar system? including a probe of the sun's atmosphere. New scouting missions to Mars and other destinations. And advanced telescope to follow Hubble, allowing us to peer deeper into the universe than ever before. I thought politics would do that. Well we'll have to rely on space (indecipherable). We will increase earth-based observations to improve our understanding of our climate and our world. Science that will garner tangible benefits, helping us to protect our environment for future generations. Every launch into the skies is another step forward toward a FUTURE where our differences seem small... against the vast expanse of our common humanity. And we will extend the life of the international space station... likely by more than five years, while actually using it for its intended purpose conducting advanced research that can help improve the daily lives of people here on Earth, as well as testing and improving upon our capabilities in space. Sometimes you have to view things from a distance... in order to see the real truth. This includes technologies like more efficient life-support systems that will help reduce the cost of future missions. And In order to reach the space station, we will work with a growing array of private companies competing to make, getting to space, easier and more affordable. (Applause) it is America's destiny... to be at the forefront... of humanity's eternal quest... for knowledge. I recognize that some have said it is unfeasible or unwise to work with the private sector in this way. I disagree. The truth is NASA has always relied on private industry to help design and build the vehicles that carry astronauts to space! From the Mercury capsule that carried John Glenn into orbit nearly 50 years ago... to the Space Shuttle Discovery currently orbiting overhead. And to be the leader amongst nations... on our adventure... into the great unknown. And I could say two great and very beautiful unknown. Nothing more beautiful. By buying the services of space transportation Rather than the vehicles themselves. We can continue to ensure rigorous safety standards are met. But we will also accelerate the pace of innovations as companies from young startups to established leaders Compete to design and build and launch new means of carrying people and materials out of our atmosphere with the actions We're launching today America will think big Once again, we will that's more than three billion dollars to conduct research on an advanced heavy-lift Rocket a Vehicle to efficiently send into orbit the crew capsules propulsion systems and large quantities of supplies needed to reach deep space important words think big on developing this new big We will not only look at revising or modifying older models We want to look at new designs New materials new technologies that will transform not just where we can go, but what we can do when we get there? we haven't been thinking so big for a long time but we're thinking big again as a country and we will finalize a Rocket design no later than 2015 and then begin to build it that at work We will inspire Millions of children to carry on this proud tradition of American space leadership, and they're excited and I want everybody to understand that's at least two years earlier than previously planned and That's conservative given that the previous program was behind schedule and over budget and to never stop wondering hoping and dreaming about what lies Beyond the stars at the same time after decades of neglect We will increase investment right away in other groundbreaking technologies that will allow astronauts to reach space sooner and more often to travel farther and faster for less cost and to live and work in space for longer periods of time more safely so I just want to Tell you that we're now going to sign an executive order that means tackling major scientific and technological challenges Now how do we shield astronauts from radiation on Longer missions? How do we harness resources on distant worlds? How do we supply Spacecraft with energy needed for these far reaching Journeys? These are questions that we can answer and will answer and these are the questions Whose answers no Doubt will reap Untold? benefits right here on Earth So the point is what we're looking for is not just to continue on the same path. We want to leap into the future we want major breakthroughs a Transformative Agenda for Nasa and this is going to launch a whole new chapter for a great country Yes, pursuing this new strategy will require that we revise the old strategy In part this is because the old strategy Including the constellation program was not fulfilling its promise in many ways that's not just my assessment it's also the assessment of a panel of respected nonpartisan experts charged with looking at these issues closely and People are very excited about it, and I can tell you I'm very excited about it. Thank you all very much I despite this some had harsh words for the decisions. We've made including some individuals who I've got enormous respect and admiration for What I hope is that everybody will take a look at what we are planning Consider the details of what we've laid out and see the merits as I've described them The bottom Line is nobody is More committed to manned spaceflight to Human exploration of space than I am but we've got to do it in a smart way And we and we can't just keep on doing the same old things that we've been doing and thinking that somehow is Going to get us to where we want to go Some have said for instance that this plan gives up our leadership in space by failing to produce plans within Nasa to reach Low-earth orbit instead of relying on companies and other countries But we will actually reach space faster and more often under this new plan in ways that will help us improve our Technological capacity and lower our costs which are both essential for the long-term sustainability of spaceflight In fact through our plan will be sending many more astronauts to space over the next decade There are also those who criticize our decision to end parts of constellation as one that will hinder space exploration below Low-earth orbit But it's precisely by investing in groundbreaking research and innovative companies that we will have the potential to rapidly Transform our capabilities even as we build on the important work already completed through projects like orion for future missions and Unlike the previous program we are setting a course with specific and Achievable Milestones early in the next decade a set of crewed flights will test and prove the systems required for exploration Beyond low Earth orbit and by 2025 we expect new Spacecraft Designed for long Journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions Beyond the Moon into deep space So we'll start We'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history by the Mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth and Landing on mars will follow and I expect to be around to see it But I want to repeat. I want to repeat this Critical to deep space exploration will be the development of breakthrough propulsion systems and other advanced technologies so I'm challenging Nasa to break through these barriers and Will give you the resources to break through these barriers, and I know you will with ingenuity and intensity because that's what you've always done now I understand the sun believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the moon first As previously planned But I just have to say Pretty bluntly here, we've been there before Buzz has been there There's a lot more of space to explore and a lot more to learn when we do So I believe it's more important to ramp up our capabilities to reach and operate at a series of increasingly demanding targets While advancing our technological capabilities with each step forward and that's what this strategy does And that's how we will ensure that our leadership in space is even stronger in this new century than it was in the last Finally I want to say a few words about jobs so then Pointed out to me the last time I was here. I made a very clear promise that I would help in the transition Into a new program to make sure that People who are already going through a tough time here in this region? we're helped and Despite some reports to the contrary My plan will add more than 2,500 jobs along the space coast in the next two years Compared to the plan under the previous administration So I want to make that point We're going to Modernize the Kennedy Space Center creating jobs as we upgrade launch facilities and there's potential for even more jobs at Companies in Florida and across America compete to be part of a new space transportation industry and some of those industry leaders are here today This holds the promise of generating more than 10 thousand jobs Nationwide over the next Few years And many of these jobs will be created right here in Florida Because this is an area primed to lead in this competition Now it's true. There are floridians who will see their work on the shuttle and as the program winds down It was based on a decision. That was made six years ago, not six months ago But that doesn't make it any less painful for families and communities affected as this decision becomes reality so I'm proposing in part because of strong lobbying by Bill and by Suzanne as Well as Charlie I'm proposing a 40 million dollar initiative Led by a High-level team from the white house Nasa and other agencies to develop a plan for regional economic growth and job creation And I expect this plan to reach my desk by August 15 It's an effort that will help prepare this already skilled workforce for new opportunities in the space industry and Beyond So this is the next chapter that we can write together here at NaSa We will partner with industry we will invest in Cutting-edge research and technology we will set far-reaching milestones and provide the resources to reach those milestones and Step by step we will push the boundaries not only of where we can go, but what we can do Now 50 years after the creation of Nasa our goal is no longer just a destination to reach Our goal is the capacity for people to work and learn and operate and live safely Beyond the Earth for extended periods of time ultimately in ways that are more sustainable and even indefinite and In fulfilling this task we will not only extend humanity's reaching in space We will strengthen America's leadership here on Earth I'll close by saying this I know that some Americans have asked a question. That's particularly apt on tax day Why spend money on NaSa at All I? spend money solving problems in space when we don't Lack for problems to solve here on the ground And obviously our country is still reeling from the worst economic turmoil we've known in generations We have massive structural deficits that had to be closed in the coming years But you and I know this is a false choice We have to fix our economy we need to close our deficits But for pennies on the dollar the space program has fueled jobs and entire industries For pennies on the dollar the space program has improved our lives Advanced our society strengthened our economy and inspired generations of Americans And I have no doubt that Nasa can continue to Fulfill this role But that is why? But I want to I want to say clearly to Those of you who work for NaSa but to the entire community that has been so supportive? of the space program in this area That is exactly why it's so essential that we pursue a new course and that we revitalize Nasa and its mission not just with dollars, but with clear Aims and a larger purpose a little more than 40 years ago astronauts descended the nine rung ladder of the lunar module called Eagle and allowed their feet to touch the dusty surface of the Earth's only moon this was the culmination of a daring and perilous Gambit of An endeavor that pushed the boundaries of our knowledge of our technical prowess of our very capacity as human beings to solve problems It wasn't just the greatest achievement in Nasa's history was one of the greatest achievements in human history And the question for us now is whether that was the beginning of something? or the end of something I Choose to believe it was only the beginning So thank you. God bless you and may God bless the United States of America. Thank you Know what this is face bending and Bianca's in Trinity could be a Tricky they've got to be something that could be admitted II read you



President Obama, Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden watch as NASA's Lunar Electric Rover demonstrates how its 12 wheels can pivot independently.
President Obama, Michelle Obama and Vice President Biden watch NASA's Lunar Electric Rover at the 2009 inaugural parade.

In November 2007, the Obama presidential campaign released a policy document delaying NASA's Constellation program by five years to fund education programs.[2] There was concern that any delay would prolong the gap after the Space Shuttle's retirement, when the US would be dependent on the Russian government for access to the International Space Station. Other presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, did not support the delay.[3]

In January 2008, the Obama campaign revised its position, supporting the immediate development of the Crew Exploration Vehicle and the Ares I rocket to narrow the gap. However, the new policy was silent on the heavy lift Ares V rocket and missions beyond low Earth orbit.[4]

Obama gave the first major space policy speech of his campaign in Titusville, Florida in August 2008.[5] He subsequently approved a seven-page space plan that committed to target dates for destinations beyond low Earth orbit:

He endorses the goal of sending human missions to the Moon by 2020, as a precursor in an orderly progression to missions to more distant destinations, including Mars.[6]

Obama was noted for "having offered more specifics about his plans for NASA than any U.S. presidential candidate in history".[7]

Augustine Commission

The Obama administration instituted the Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee, also known as the Augustine Commission, to review the human spaceflight plans of the United States after the time NASA had planned to retire the Space Shuttle. Their goal was to ensure the nation is on "a vigorous and sustainable path to achieving its boldest aspirations in space." The review was announced by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on May 7, 2009.[8][9][10] The report was released on October 22, 2009.[11]

The Committee judged the nine-year-old Constellation program to be so behind schedule, underfunded and over budget that meeting any of its goals would not be possible. The President removed the program from the 2010 NASA budget request and a bi-partisan congress refused to fund it any longer, effectively canceling the program. One component of the program, the Orion crew capsule, was added back to plans but as a rescue vehicle to complement the Russian Soyuz in returning Station crews to Earth in the event of an emergency.[12]

In its final report, the Committee proposed three basic options for exploration beyond low Earth orbit, and appeared to favor the third option:

  • Mars First, with a Mars landing, perhaps after a brief test of equipment and procedures on the Moon.
  • Moon First, with lunar surface exploration focused on developing the capability to explore Mars.
  • A Flexible Path to inner Solar System locations, such as lunar orbit, Lagrange points, near-Earth objects and the moons of Mars, followed by exploration of the lunar surface and/or Martian surface.

In his April 15, 2010 space policy speech at Kennedy Space Center announcing the administration's plans for NASA, none of the 3 plans outlined in the Committee's final report was completely selected.[13] The President rejected immediate plans to return to the Moon on the premise that the current plan had become nonviable. He instead promised $6 billion in additional funding and called for development of a new heavy lift rocket program to be ready for construction by 2015 with crewed missions to Mars orbit by the mid-2030s.[14]

Space policy speech at Kennedy Space Center

Attendees included then-NASA administrator and Obama appointee Charles Bolden, Apollo 11 Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin, Representative Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL), Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), among others.

Modification of Orion

Obama announced the modification of the Orion capsule from its original purpose as a crewed spacecraft for flights to the ISS and the Moon into an emergency escape capsule for the International Space Station, reducing American reliance on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

In addition, as part of this effort, we will build on the good work already done on the Orion crew capsule. I've directed Charlie Bolden to immediately begin developing a rescue vehicle using this technology, so we are not forced to rely on foreign providers if it becomes necessary to quickly bring our people home from the International Space Station. And this Orion effort will be part of the technological foundation for advanced spacecraft to be used in future deep space missions. In fact, Orion will be readied for flight right here in this room.


The new policy changes from Vision for Space Exploration and Constellation program Moon-first approach to a variety of destinations resembling the flexible path approach:

Early in the next decade, a set of crewed flights will test and prove the systems required for exploration beyond low Earth orbit. And by 2025, we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the Moon into deep space. So we'll start – we'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history.

Obama promoted the idea of a crewed mission to orbit Mars by the mid-2030s with a landing as a follow-up.[citation needed]

Reliance on commercially operated launch vehicles

The Falcon 9 rocket Obama referenced in his speech was first launched on June 4, 2010.
The Falcon 9 rocket Obama referenced in his speech was first launched on June 4, 2010.

In a major shift in the function of NASA in American human spaceflight, the Obama administration proposal would rely solely on launch vehicles designed, manufactured, and operated by private aerospace companies, with NASA paying for flights for government astronauts.

Prior to the speech, Obama toured the launch facilities surrounding the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle with CEO Elon Musk which has received NASA funding through the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program and could loft NASA astronauts under the new plan. In the speech, Obama referenced the maiden flight of the Falcon 9, which would go on to launch successfully less than one and a half months after the speech:

[The] Falcon 9 rocket we just saw on the launch pad...will be tested for the very first time in the coming weeks.

[citation needed]

Extension of ISS operations

Obama also announced an extension of funding for International Space Station operations, 90% complete by mass[15] at the time of the speech but scheduled to be deorbited by as early as 2015 before Obama announced the extension, which will provide funding through 2020.

And we will extend the life of the International Space Station likely by more than five years, while actually using it for its intended purpose: conducting advanced research that can help improve the daily lives of people here on Earth, as well as testing and improving upon our capabilities in space. This includes technologies like more efficient life support systems that will help reduce the cost of future missions. And in order to reach the space station, we will work with a growing array of private companies competing to make getting to space easier and more affordable.

[citation needed]

Heavy-lift launch vehicle

In the speech, Obama announced the development of a new Heavy Lift Vehicle (HLV) to replace the planned Ares V, with the design planned for completion by 2015, two years prior to the Constellation plan, and construction commencing thereafter:

Next, we will invest more than $3 billion to conduct research on an advanced "heavy lift rocket"—a vehicle to efficiently send into orbit the crew capsules, propulsion systems, and large quantities of supplies needed to reach deep space. In developing this new vehicle, we will not only look at revising or modifying older models; we want to look at new designs, new materials, new technologies that will transform not just where we can go but what we can do when we get there. And we will finalize a rocket design no later than 2015 and then begin to build it. And I want everybody to understand: That's at least two years earlier than previously planned—and that's conservative, given that the previous program was behind schedule and over budget.

[citation needed]



Prior to the speech, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk released a statement praising the proposal and criticizing Senators who had opposed it and former NASA administrator Michael Griffin:

Cancellation was therefore simply a matter of time and thankfully we have a president with the political courage to do the right thing sooner rather than later. We can ill afford the expense of an "Apollo on steroids", as a former NASA Administrator referred to the Ares/Orion program. A lesser President might have waited until after the upcoming election cycle, not caring that billions more dollars would be wasted. It was disappointing to see how many in Congress did not possess this courage. One senator in particular was determined to achieve a new altitude record in hypocrisy, claiming that the public option was bad in healthcare, but good in space![16]

Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin released a statement in support of the plan via the White House on February 1, prior to the announcement of the 2011 federal budget, which included the changes Obama announced in the speech:

I continue to be excited about the development of commercial capabilities to send humans into low earth orbit and what this could ultimately mean in terms of allowing others to experience the transformative power of spaceflight. I can personally attest to what such an experience can do in creating a different perspective regarding our life on Earth and on our future. I applaud the President for his boldness and commitment in working to make this worthwhile dream a reality.[17]


Neil Armstrong, Jim Lovell, and Eugene Cernan, commanders of Apollo 11, Apollo 13, and Apollo 17 respectively, said:

  • "When President Obama recently released his budget for NASA, he proposed a slight increase in total funding...the accompanying decision to cancel the Constellation program, its Ares 1 and Ares V rockets, and the Orion spacecraft, is devastating."
  • "It appears that we will have wasted our current ten plus billion dollar investment in Constellation and, equally importantly, we will have lost the many years required to recreate the equivalent of what we will have discarded."[18]
  • "For The United States, the leading space faring nation for nearly half a century, to be without carriage to low Earth orbit and with no human exploration capability to go beyond Earth orbit for an indeterminate time into the future, destines our nation to become one of second or even third rate stature. While the President's plan envisages humans traveling away from Earth and perhaps toward Mars at some time in the future, the lack of developed rockets and spacecraft will assure that ability will not be available for many years."[19]
  • "Without the skill and experience that actual spacecraft operation provides, the USA is far too likely to be on a long downhill slide to mediocrity."[20]

Robert Zubrin, President of The Mars Society and whose book The Case for Mars first proposed a Shuttle-derived heavy lift vehicle named Ares, lambasted Obama's plans in the New York Daily News:

  • "Under the Obama plan, NASA will spend $100 billion on human spaceflight over the next 10 years in order to accomplish nothing"
  • "Obama called for sending a crew to a near Earth asteroid by 2025. ... Had Obama not canceled the Ares 5, we could have used it to perform an asteroid mission by 2016. But the President, while calling for such a flight, actually is terminating the programs that would make it possible."
  • "With current in-space propulsion technology, we can do a round-trip mission to a near-Earth asteroid or a one-way transit to Mars in six months ... Holdren claims that he wants to develop a new electrically powered space thruster to speed up such trips. But without gigantic space nuclear power reactors to provide them with juice, such thrusters are useless, and the administration has no intention of developing such reactors."[21]


President Barack Obama speaks at Kennedy Space Center

Subsequent developments

The Obama administration released its new formal space policy on June 28, 2010.

The NASA Authorization Act of 2010, passed on October 11, 2010, authorized funds for NASA for fiscal year 2011–2013, and enacted many of his stated space policy goals. A total of $58 billion in funding is called for, spread across three years.[22]

The 2011 budget legislation, passed in April 2011, officially terminated the Constellation program. The passage of the budget frees NASA to start working on the new initiatives.[23]

In September 2011, details were announced of the Space Launch System, a Shuttle-Derived Launch Vehicle being developed by NASA as a replacement for the Ares I and Ares V rockets of the Constellation program.

The Obama administration cut NASA's planetary-sciences budget by 20 percent in 2013, as part of a restructuring plan, contrary to the recommendations of the National Research Council.[24]

In January 2014 the Obama administration announced it would seek to extend the operational life of the International Space Station by four more years to 2024.[25]

See also


  1. ^ Chang, Kenneth (April 15, 2010). "Obama Promises Renewed Space Program". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
  2. ^ "Barack Obama's plan for lifetime success through education" (PDF). Obama for America. November 26, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 2, 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2011. The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years...
  3. ^ Kaufman, Marc (November 23, 2007). "Clinton Favors Future Human Spaceflight". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  4. ^ "Barack Obama's Plan For American Leadership in Space". SpaceRef. January 10, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  5. ^ Peterson, Patrick (August 8, 2008). "Sen. Barack Obama Pledges Space Advocacy". Florida Today. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  6. ^ "Advancing the frontiers of space exploration" (PDF). Obama for America. August 15, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 28, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  7. ^ Berger, Brian (November 10, 2008). "On Heels of Campaign Promises, Obama Faces Big NASA Decisions". Space News. Retrieved November 5, 2011.
  8. ^ "U.S. Announces Review of Human Space Flight Plans" (PDF). Office of Science and Technology Policy. May 7, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  9. ^ "NASA launches another Web site". United Press International. June 8, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  10. ^ Bonilla, Dennis (September 8, 2009). "Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee". NASA. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  11. ^ Sciencemag – No to NASA Archived May 13, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Stencel, Mark (April 15, 2010). "NASA's Flight Plan Gets Small Course Corrections". NPR. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
  13. ^ Review of U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee; Augustine; Austin; Chyba; et al. "Seeking A Human Spaceflight Program Worthy of A Great Nation" (PDF). Final Report. NASA. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
  14. ^ President Barack Obama on Space Exploration in the 21st Century
  15. ^ "NASA Receives 'Keys' to International Space Station from Boeing". NASA. March 5, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2010. The football field-sized outpost is now 90 percent complete by mass, and 98 percent complete by internal volume. Supporting a multicultural crew of six, the station has a mass of almost 400 tons and more than 12,000 cubic feet of living space.
  16. ^ Musk, Elon (April 15, 2010). "At long last, an inspiring future for space exploration". SpaceX. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
  17. ^ Aldrin, Buzz (February 1, 2010). "Statement from Buzz Aldrin: A New Direction in Space" (PDF) (Press release). Office of Science and Technology Policy. Retrieved April 16, 2010.
  18. ^ Civilian Military Intelligence Group Neil Armstrong Writes A Letter To Obama. One That Perhaps We Should All Read, by Daniel Russ on April 14, 2010
  19. ^ Space News, Don't Forsake U.S. Leadership in Space, 04/25/10, By Frank Wolf
  20. ^ USA Today, Apr 14, 2010, Obama's NASA policy: The White House vs. Neil Armstrong, By David Jackson of USA TODAY
  21. ^ Obama's Failure to Launch, By Robert Zubrin, Monday, April 19, 2010, 4:00 am
  22. ^ "NASA has New Authorization but Future Remains Uncertain". Space News. October 11, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  23. ^ Bhattacharjee, Yudhijit (April 12, 2011). "NASA Science Budget Holds Steady". ScienceInsider. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  24. ^ "The Obama Legacy in Planetary Exploration". January 4, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  25. ^ Ferster, Warren; Leone, Dan (January 8, 2014). "White House Endorses 4-year Space Station Extension".

External links

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