Sunday, May 16, 2010

Are We to Continue to Languish in Low Earth Orbit?

Above, I paraphrase a question from a friend.

My answer is no, if we don't weaken.

Let me put U.S. human space flight in perspective. Late in 2008, our best hope to send humans beyond LEO was the mammoth Ares V launcher. Based on the funding actually in place by 2010, the program of record might have allowed missions to Lunar orbit by the late 2020s.

The proposal of the current administration would emphasize orbital propellant depots, with a mission to a near Earth asteroid around 2025. Less challenging missions, like Earth/Moon Lagrange Point One or Lunar flyby or orbit, could happen earlier.

That sounds like a move in the right direction.

1 comment:

Hugh Knight said...

Hi Will,

But while there's a private aspect to that, it's still government space flight. The government is paying for it, so they get to say what happens. That's not privatization. Where’s the incentive to get out of LEO?

Moreover, I see nothing about going out of LEO other than vague promises--promises for which there's no guarantee of funding. To me, this is more Obamanomics, just him claiming he's going to support something that will never happen during his administration. Bush's plan may have only pushed for the moon, but it was being worked on, and it was being funded (although admittedly not enough). Obama's plan? More lies and half lies. Promises with no substance, like all his other egregious lies.

I see nothing to get us out of LEO in this, nothing at all.