Obama budget would cut NASA moon plan

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama is no longer shooting for the moon, with a budget plan that aborts a symbolic but expensive lunar program and spends $6 billion over five years to turn over space transportation to commercial companies.

Some members of Congress immediately promised a fight. One legislator called the plan a "death march' for human space flight. But NASA deployed astronauts and other experts to say the Constellation program, begun under former President George W. Bush to return humans to the moon, was too slow and wasteful.

The space agency's budget would grow to $19 billion in 2011 under the proposed budget released on Monday, with an emphasis on science and less spent on space exploration.

"What this does is open up (space) for more people to be going more places in a way that is not on the back of the taxpayers," NASA's deputy administrator, Lori Garver, told reporters in a conference call.

"The previous trajectory that NASA was on was simply not sustainable," added former astronaut Sally Ride, who served ion a panel that determined Constellation was behind schedule.

"The president's proposed NASA budget begins the death march for the future of U.S. human space flight," said Senator Richard Shelby, the senior Republican on the appropriations subcommittee handling NASA funding.

"Congress cannot and will not sit back and watch the reckless abandonment of sound principles, a proven track record, a steady path to success, and the destruction of our human space flight program," said Shelby of Alabama, whose state is home to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson has also promised to fight efforts to cut back NASA operations.


The new budget extends operations at the International Space Station past its planned retirement date of 2016, suggesting such additions as inflatable space habitats.

Obama's proposal hands over more space operations to the commercial sector, saying it will create thousands of new jobs and hold costs down.

NASA already has spent $9 billion on Constellation and likely would owe millions more to cancel existing contracts. Prime contractors on the Ares rocket program include ATK Launch Systems, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Boeing Co.

Lockheed Martin is the lead contractor on the Orion capsule.

NASA already has contracts with Space Exploration Technologies and Orbital Sciences Corp to deliver cargo to the station. SpaceX and other firms also are developing spaceships that can carry passengers to orbit and back.

The budget proposes a revamp of the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where staff have feared major cutbacks, as part of making NASA more efficient.

"A major focus of this effort will be to create the 21st century launch facilities and infrastructure needed at Kennedy Space Center, transforming the facility to more effectively support future NASA, commercial, and other government launches," the budget reads.


I had to post this since assholes have been showing up all over the radio trying to blame

Christians for halting nasa


as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
democrats have always been notorious for cutting nasa budgets

Creasy Bear

gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh
And now, the host of Slow News, BeerBelly. Bringing outdated headline news to the mentally deficient since 2005.

Take it away, Blurp.


Liberal Psycopath
Next up on the "Beerbelly News Hour" President Lincoln makes plans for a quiet night at the theater. I hear the show ends with a bang!


I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
The Titanic....unsinkable? We'll have more at 11.

Creasy Bear

gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh
Hot off the Slow News teletype, this just in!

President Kennedy vows that we'll go to the moon in this decod and do the other things.

We're pretty sure that "other things" is a reference to having sex with Marilyn Monroe multiple times in The Oval Office, and we suspect that a decod is some new model of space craft, but we have yet to confirm this.

Further updates as events warrant and new information comes in.


I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
This is a Slow News newsbreak. We are getting unconfirmed reports that the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland is on fire. Unlikely as that is, we are sending crack reporter Bee Erbelly to the scene.