Friday, April 9, 2010

NASA Announces Space Center Assignments Under FY 2011 Budget Proposal

Charlie Bolden and Lori Garver testify before the U.S. Senate in July 2009.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and Deputy Administrator Lori Garver held a teleconference yesterday in which they announced the workforce breakdown by space center under the Obama administration's proposed FY 2011 NASA budget.

Click here to read the Kennedy Space Center proposal.

Click here to access NASA's proposed FY 2011 budget site.

The Washington Post reported today that "NASA wants to spend more than $12 billion over the next five years to develop a rocket engine capable of propelling astronauts into deep space and to fund cutting-edge space technologies."

In canceling the Constellation program, the administration said the project was significantly behind schedule and over budget, and it would initially perform a task — transporting crew and supplies to the International Space Station — that Obama thinks is better left to a new generation of commercial space entrepreneurs.

That work has been done by the aging and soon-to-be-ended space shuttles and some Russian Soyuz spacecraft. The Bush administration initially agreed to pay Russia to take over full responsibility for the ISS servicing by next year, and NASA extended that contract this week through 2014.

Florida Today reported on the KSC-specific part of the proposal, specifically the plan to "open a new commercial crew development office at Kennedy Space Center that will help foster development of commercial space taxis designed to carry astronauts to and from the International Space Station."

A second Florida Today article looked at the projected economic impact of the proposal.

What I find interesting in the latter article is how many people seem to think that the purpose of the U.S. government space program is to generate and perpetuate jobs, not to promote the advancement of technology and exploration.

The National Aeronautics and Space Act says nothing about NASA's mission being to provide government-funded jobs. But it does say that NASA is charged with promoting commerical access to space.

Note that right in Title I, Section 102(c), it states:

The Congress declares that the general welfare of the United States requires that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (as established by title II of this Act) seek and encourage, to the maximum extent possible, the fullest commercial use of space.

The fullest commercial use of space.

That is exactly what the Obama Administration's FY 2011 NASA budget proposal intends to do.

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