[FPSPACE] Anticipating a four-year gap in US crewed spaceflights by US equipment?

Peter Pesavento eagle267@svol.net
Sat, 17 Jan 2004 15:00:43 -0500


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>From spacedaily...via AgencyFrancePresse...


 US has big ambitions, limited means for reaching moon, Mars and beyond  =

WASHINGTON (AFP) Jan 15, 2004

After announcing his ambitious plans to send manned missions to the moon =
and Mars, President George W. Bush has been brought back down to Earth =
by doubts about how such a monumental project can be financed.
Bush called late Wednesday for a new space vessel capable of traveling =
to the moon as early as 2015. But in terms of financing, the space =
agency will have only an additional billion dollars at its disposal over =
five years, in addition to its annual budget of 15.4 billion dollars.

Traveling to Mars "is expensive and risky. The United States may not =
spend the money this will take, or people may lose interest" in the =
program, warned James Lewis, director of the Technology and Public =
Policy program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and =
International Studies (CSIS).

Peter Wilson, a space exploration policy expert at the Rand Corporation, =
conceded that it "will require a huge effort by the administration to =
mobilize the public opinion over this. It's a 20-to-30-year program, not =
a crash program like Apollo, that took only 10 years."

As if attempting to demonstrate the feasibility of Bush's dream, the US =
robot Spirit made its first steps on Mars overnight Wednesday. But the =
two-robot rover mission, expected to continue for three months on the =
Red Planet, cost just 820 million dollars.

But the notion of manned missions to the moon and Mars has also raised a =
host of other questions -- including what will happen in the interim =
between when the space shuttle is phased out, as Bush has called for, =
and when a new orbital space plane takes its place.

"The program is a little confusing, because the new vehicle is not ready =
before 2014 but the shuttle stops in 2010," said Wilson.

Asked about this four-year gap, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said =
that, although the shuttle has been grounded following last year's space =
shuttle Columbia disaster, the International Space Station crews are =
being transported to the station by Russian Soyuz rockets.

"Our Russian partners have excelled at assuring the flight of Soyuz =
spacecraft," O'Keefe said.

He gave no details on the new space vehicle, answering questions on the =
topic with a simple "We'll see." The orbital space plane now being =
developed is not designed to go to the moon.

Several experts stress that keeping the shuttle in service until 2010 =
will be costly, with maintenance eating up a portion of the budget that =
could be devoted to the new spacecraft.

The shuttle programs "outlived their usefulness and were just a black =
hole for money," Lewis said.

Aside from the funding concerns, the United States could also come up =
against some tough competition from other countries in reaching for the =
moon and Mars, experts say.

"Being passed by one of these countries would damage US prestige. This =
might be enough incentive to actually get us back to the moon and then =
to Mars," Lewis said.

Several times in recent months, China has mentioned plans to send people =
to the moon, and on Thursday Russia reacted to the US announcement a day =
earlier by saying it had the know-how to relaunch its space exploration =
programs.

But convincing Congress to approve the budget will be the real =
challenge. Bush's father, former president George Bush, had his space =
hopes dashed in 1989, when Congress rejected his 20-year, =
400-billion-dollar plan for manned missions to the moon and Mars.

"New financial resources will be hard to secure from Congress," said =
Christian Beckner, project manager of CSIS's Human Space Exploration =
Initiative.

He added that "any reorganization of the NASA centers will be difficult =
and will require a strong political commitment by the White House."

On Thursday NASA announced the organization's first changes aimed at =
meeting the new goals.

Retired admiral Craig Steidle was nominated to the job of associate =
administrator, and will head a new office, the Office of Exploration =
Systems.

The office is to "set priorities and direct the identification, =
development, and validation of exploration systems and related =
technologies," NASA said in a statement.

The Office of Aerospace Technology will now be called the Office of =
Aeronautics, reorganized "to reflect NASA's commitment to aviation =
research and aeronautics technologies for the nation's civil and defense =
interests," NASA said.

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<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2>From spacedaily...via=20
AgencyFrancePresse...</FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV><!--StartFragment -->&nbsp;<SPAN class=3DBHL>US has big ambitions, =
limited=20
means for reaching moon, Mars and beyond</SPAN>&nbsp;<!--StartFragment =
-->=20
</DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3DBDL>WASHINGTON (AFP) Jan 15, 2004</SPAN></DIV>
<DIV><SPAN class=3DBDL><BR></SPAN><SPAN class=3DBTX>After announcing his =
ambitious=20
plans to send manned missions to the moon and Mars, President George W. =
Bush has=20
been brought back down to Earth by doubts about how such a monumental =
project=20
can be financed.</DIV>
<P>Bush called late Wednesday for a new space vessel capable of =
traveling to the=20
moon as early as 2015. But in terms of financing, the space agency will =
have=20
only an additional billion dollars at its disposal over five years, in =
addition=20
to its annual budget of 15.4 billion dollars.</P>
<P>Traveling to Mars "is expensive and risky. The United States may not =
spend=20
the money this will take, or people may lose interest" in the program, =
warned=20
James Lewis, director of the Technology and Public Policy program at the =

Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies =
(CSIS).</P>
<P>Peter Wilson, a space exploration policy expert at the Rand =
Corporation,=20
conceded that it "will require a huge effort by the administration to =
mobilize=20
the public opinion over this. It's a 20-to-30-year program, not a crash =
program=20
like Apollo, that took only 10 years."</P>
<P>As if attempting to demonstrate the feasibility of Bush's dream, the =
US robot=20
Spirit made its first steps on Mars overnight Wednesday. But the =
two-robot rover=20
mission, expected to continue for three months on the Red Planet, cost =
just 820=20
million dollars.</P>
<P>But the notion of manned missions to the moon and Mars has also =
raised a host=20
of other questions -- including what will happen in the interim between =
when the=20
space shuttle is phased out, as Bush has called for, and when a new =
orbital=20
space plane takes its place.</P>
<P>"The program is a little confusing, because the new vehicle is not =
ready=20
before 2014 but the shuttle stops in 2010," said Wilson.</P>
<P>Asked about this four-year gap, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said =
that,=20
although the shuttle has been grounded following last year's space =
shuttle=20
Columbia disaster, the International Space Station crews are being =
transported=20
to the station by Russian Soyuz rockets.</P>
<P>"Our Russian partners have excelled at assuring the flight of Soyuz=20
spacecraft," O'Keefe said.</P>
<P>He gave no details on the new space vehicle, answering questions on =
the topic=20
with a simple "We'll see." The orbital space plane now being developed =
is not=20
designed to go to the moon.</P>
<P>Several experts stress that keeping the shuttle in service until 2010 =
will be=20
costly, with maintenance eating up a portion of the budget that could be =
devoted=20
to the new spacecraft.</P>
<P>The shuttle programs "outlived their usefulness and were just a black =
hole=20
for money," Lewis said.</P>
<P>Aside from the funding concerns, the United States could also come up =
against=20
some tough competition from other countries in reaching for the moon and =
Mars,=20
experts say.</P>
<P>"Being passed by one of these countries would damage US prestige. =
This might=20
be enough incentive to actually get us back to the moon and then to =
Mars," Lewis=20
said.</P>
<P>Several times in recent months, China has mentioned plans to send =
people to=20
the moon, and on Thursday Russia reacted to the US announcement a day =
earlier by=20
saying it had the know-how to relaunch its space exploration =
programs.</P>
<P>But convincing Congress to approve the budget will be the real =
challenge.=20
Bush's father, former president George Bush, had his space hopes dashed =
in 1989,=20
when Congress rejected his 20-year, 400-billion-dollar plan for manned =
missions=20
to the moon and Mars.</P>
<P>"New financial resources will be hard to secure from Congress," said=20
Christian Beckner, project manager of CSIS's Human Space Exploration=20
Initiative.</P>
<P>He added that "any reorganization of the NASA centers will be =
difficult and=20
will require a strong political commitment by the White House."</P>
<P>On Thursday NASA announced the organization's first changes aimed at =
meeting=20
the new goals.</P>
<P>Retired admiral Craig Steidle was nominated to the job of associate=20
administrator, and will head a new office, the Office of Exploration=20
Systems.</P>
<P>The office is to "set priorities and direct the identification, =
development,=20
and validation of exploration systems and related technologies," NASA =
said in a=20
statement.</P>
<P>The Office of Aerospace Technology will now be called the Office of=20
Aeronautics, reorganized "to reflect NASA's commitment to aviation =
research and=20
aeronautics technologies for the nation's civil and defense interests," =
NASA=20
said.</P></SPAN></BODY></HTML>

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