"No Bucks, No Buck Rogers"

from Michael Khan, 01. February 2010, 18:04

Today may mark the imminent end of US ambitions to lead space exploration. The "Vision for Space Exploration" (VSE) that former president Bush initiatied (however, neglecting to provide appropriate funding) may be axed.

(Lesen Sie diesen Artikel hier auf Deutsch) 

If this proposal goes through, it may limit the US human space exploration to low Earth orbit for a long time. Not a very attractive option, especially in view of the more than $9 bn that already have been invested into the development of the Ares I and Ares V heavy launchers and the Altair moon landing craft, which may now well be eliminated from the Constellation project.

Here is an interview with spaceflightnow's Miles O'Brien with Lockheed Martin's John Karas on the future of the VSE. LockMart is prime contractor for the Crew Exploration Vehicle Orion that, if also axed, will not leave much of Constellation, nor of American manned spaceflight leadership.

Further Information web site

"This Week in Space" on youtube with this and other interviews und information

Article "White House Confirms Course Change for NASA" on

  Share on ResearchGATE



Go for Launch: Ende der US-Weltraumambitionen?


  1. Gerhard Holtkamp Look to the Private Sector
    01.02.2010 | 22:55

    Personally I feel that the Constellation Project wasn't too much of a Vision anyway. Depending on how fast the Chinese are moving the human return to the Moon might take a little longer. But in the long run I would place my bets on commercial spaceflights to fly tourists to the Moon as there is definitely an interest.

  2. Michael Khan @Gerhard
    02.02.2010 | 18:20

    I don't see the Constellation program negatively. Granted, it was somewhat hamstrung by the fact that clearly, part of the requirements were to keep the industries developed for the Space Shuttle busy.

    But you always have heritage effects with big projects.

    Then, one shouldn't see Constallation only in terms of just going to the Moon. With minor modifications, the technologies and infrastructure would have been applicable to much more ambitious mission.

    That's why a comparison with private ventures such as SpaceX and the Dragon are not really meaningful. Granted, they might get astronauts to the ISS cheaper than the Orion space ship could. But Orion was designed for a lot more than that - that's the whole point of it.

    In fact, the issue, as I see it, is not about private vs. public, commercial ventures vas. NASA.

    The issue rather is: Do we want to go beyond low Earth orbit? I'm not sure that the answer is "yes".

    The US space research expenditure is still way ahead of the paltry European efforts. And that's a good thing. But that fact should not be taken for granted indefinitely.

    If a disinterested public turns away from space research, that would be a terrible thing.

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