By Ed Oswald | Monday, December 22, 2008 at 9:48 am
I know this is a bit outside of Technologizer’s typical coverage area but it is interesting nonetheless. There has been some reports of bad feelings between the President-Elect and NASA, and we may be finding out why. Obama may be considering ending the Ares rocket program, intended to be the replacement for the space shuttle.
According to UK daily The Telegraph, Obama’s transition team has hammered the space agency on its budget issues. Over half of the 74 queries sent to NASA dealt with this topic, sources indicate.
This could mean potentially for the first time in over 40 years the agency may have no method to send astronauts into space. At the same time, the Ares program has been plagued by mismanagement and budget overruns, and in this time of cutbacks everywhere that certainly is not a good thing.
Obama has sent mixed messages on manned spaceflight. His earlier campaign comments seemed to suggest he was in favor of some type of delay in the program altogether, however this softened considerably as Florida became an important state.
NASA has said that it wants to put humans back on the moon by 2020, which is preparation for a permanent lunar base and manned mission to Mars a decade or so later. However if Ares is scrapped, that could put that timeline in jeopardy.
In any case, it will not be more of the same at the agency. “There will be changes,” Obama NASA liason and former adminstrator Lori Garver has said.