Thursday, July 15, 2010

Compromise Reached on the Future of NASA

Politico is reporting that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has reached a compromise on the future of NASA. The bill will now go to the full senate for a vote.

As usual, Politico has buried the policy specifics on the second page... you've got to wade through the political commentary to get to it. But it looks like the key changes are "a more regimented, benchmark-based track" for private sector participation in human spaceflight, and "development of a long-range vehicle [beginning] far sooner than the 2015 date the White House specified." Constellation is still on the chopping block, but the Orion capsule will be retained, presumably as the lifeboat for the space station as the White House proposed. NASA funding will be increased by $6 billion, but it's unclear over how many years that's spread. No mention of whether President Obama's goal of sending astronauts to an asteroid is still in the works.

Overall, this sounds like a good compromise, and the White House is praising it. So let's hope that this controversy is just about finished, so we can get on with it!

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