On @ The 90 is AmericaSpace’s editorial feature and is therefore based on opinion.
Photo Credit: Jason Rhian

On @ The 90: The Future

By Jason Rhian

Predictions are dangerous things. Dick Morris, a political commentator, found this out the hard way recently. He predicted that Mitt Romney would win the U.S. presidential election in a landslide. Yeah, so much for that. Predicting what the space program will be like in the future is similarly treacherous.

In 2009, one would have thought that betting that the Constellation Program, NASA’s program of record at the time, would be the path forward for NASA – would be a safe bet. Launch Complex 39B had been renovated to include a new lightning protection system and the first flight of a “new era” had occurred (the launch of Ares 1-X). Surely no politician would come in and cancel all the progress that had been made. No one would scrap all the work that had been done. So much for that too.

The “Vision for Space Exploration” and Constellation Program now rest on the scrapheap of history. The Ares I and V launch vehicles and Altair lunar lander joined the MOL, Venture Star, DC-X and Dyna-Soar in the ranks of spacecraft that never were.

Where we stand today is with a space agency whose foundation appears to be made of ever-shifting sand. Where potential destinations morph and change and in some cases vanish. During a speech given at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in 2010, President Obama stated that the Moon was no longer an objective of NASA as we had already “been there.” Instead the president selected an asteroid and Mars (2025 and 2030s respectively) as objectives for NASA’s human space flight program.

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