Originally Posted by Maineah
Obama is clueless about most things and I guess we can just add space exploration to the ever growing list. I'm a bit surprised there is not more of a direct protest and outrage from people on this forum and the general population at Washington's quest to gut this program. It's shameful for a sitting President to cancel a program in it's infancy while spending billions on pork programs in the name of restarting the economy. Every welfare recipient I have ever talked to feels the space program is cutting into "their benefits". Get a job. Sure we'd love to see private investors come up with a new machine for attaining low earth orbit. Meanwhile we have a $100 billion space station we built and no way to get there save paying the Russians 51 million per person for a ride. Tell me this country isn't screwed up.
Constellation and Orion were not expected to be ready to reach low earth orbit until 2017 at the earliest, more likely 2019. At a cost of about $44B (up from an earlier estimate of $28B). AND, with no guarantee of success. That means that we would have been required to depend on the Russians (or another vehicle) until that time anyway.
Orion to the Moon? Huge food fight at NASA over the last 2 years that Constellation was headed for failure, and continuing to fund it was throwing good money after bad.
Private manned space funding? SpaceX and Orbital have vehicles in development today, and SpaceX is designed to be man rated in the future. AND, there is an X-37 scheduled to be launched by the Air Force this week, which is designed to be capable of runway landings.
Per current NASA funding levels, without the Obama proposed changes, ISS is to be DEORBITED in 2015. The Obama proposal EXTENDS ISS to 2020.
So, if we assume $51M per ride or about $300M per year (6 US crew). That's a total of $2.7B for 9 years. That's a bargain. Also, it may even be cheaper since foreign crews may be responsible for some level of compensation to the US for seats.
Regarding whether this country is screwed up or not, I think that is universally acknowledged, but allegedly that is what makes this a great country.