Obama Unveils Space Policy
Senator Barack Obama has unveiled his official space policy:
Historically, the U.S. space program has inspired people the world over with its feats on behalf of all humankind. This leadership can continue; indeed, the Bush administration set an ambitious agenda for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), but has since failed to provide adequate funding or leadership to move forward with that agenda. As a result, key programs have suffered. Poor planning and inadequate funding are leading to at least a five-year gap after the retirement of the Space Shuttle. During those years, the United States will have to depend on foreign rockets and spacecraft to send Americans to orbit. NASA has had to slash its research budget, including its aeronautical research, its programs to study climate change, microgravity research that can yield new technologies, and even the robotic exploration of the outer solar system and the universe beyond. Many other countries are moving forward in space; the United States cannot afford to fall behind.
All in all, this is pretty much the status quo with a promise of a little more funding. That’s not altogether a bad thing, as I think NASA’s got some pretty ambitious plans. Still, some change beyond moving around some space bureaucracy–especially regarding liberalizing commercial space flights–would have been welcome.