"During the nineteenth century, mankind came close to economic freedom, for the first and only time in history. Observe the results. Observe also that the degree of a country's freedom from government control, was the degree of its progress. America was the freest and achieved the most." Ayn Rand ["The Intellectual Bankruptcy of our Age," Pamphlet, 7]
In yet another blow to progress and achievement and the advancement of man, Obama aims to ax the moon mission. *Sigh* The age of the Philistine.
It hurts the heart ..... this rapid deterioration of conditions in which free men produce, invent, and prosper, because of government taxation and regulation. The price of force. Big government has been encroaching on our lives for decades now, and with Obama, the bottom falls out.
The changes are imperceptible on a daily basis, but for those of us over forty, it is not hard to recall the differences. Particularly the small differences. Eastern Airlines (long defunct) was the most familiar carrier New York to Florida - it was an experience. To the privileged was the champagne and the ice cream sundae cart. That lovely little cart would make its way down the aisle, and you'd choose from the sprinkles or the whipped cream or the hot sauce atop your fave flav. Silly, I know, but like most things, this lagniappe went the way of the horse and buggy, as did the hot meals. And how could it not? The government taxed everything from soup to nuts. From the fuel surcharges to security fees, it always comes out of the consumer. Air travel went from being an experience to dreaded harassment.
Who can forget the excitement of the Concorde? The Concorde was going to be the future of air travel, in which we'd bop from place to place in half the time. Now the Concorde is defunct. Kaput. Much like the environment for producers and businessmen, who are the "villains" of Democrats, statists, collectivists, moochers and looters.
Everything is worse, less, and more expensive. When you went on vacation, the valet took your car. Now it's $19.95 to park your rental car at the hotel. Are these industries gouging the customer? No. They are trying to stay in business.
This is the price of force. This is the price of coercion. This is the price of statism. This is the price of big government. The very idea of America has been subsumed by an enslavement mentality.
In a rational world, we wouldn't need a NASA. The private industry would do it all, but government has just about snuffed every possibility of that out.
Obama is killing space. Billions for graft and corruption and his union army and worse for the junk science of global warming, but nothing for the future discovery and the progress of man. It's awful. The collapse of science is all but complete.
Trillions for global hoaxing, the middle finger for science.
NASA's plans to return astronauts to the moon are dead. So are the rockets being designed to take them there — that is, if President Barack Obama gets his way.
When the White House releases his budget proposal Monday, there will be no money for the Constellation program that was supposed to return humans to the moon by 2020. The troubled and expensive Ares I rocket that was to replace the space shuttle to ferry humans to space will be gone, along with money for its bigger brother, the Ares V cargo rocket that was to launch the fuel and supplies needed to take humans back to the moon.
There will be no lunar landers, no moon bases, no Constellation program at all.
In their place, according to White House insiders, agency officials, industry executives and congressional sources familiar with Obama's long-awaited plans for the space agency, NASA will look at developing a new "heavy-lift" rocket that one day will take humans and robots to explore beyond low Earth orbit. But that day will be years — possibly even a decade or more — away.
In the meantime, the White House will direct NASA to concentrate on Earth-science projects — principally, researching and monitoring climate change — and on a new technology research and development program that will one day make human exploration of asteroids and the inner solar system possible.
There will also be funding for private companies to develop capsules and rockets that can be used as space taxis to take astronauts on fixed-price contracts to and from the International Space Station — a major change in the way the agency has done business for the past 50 years.
The White House budget request, which is certain to meet fierce resistance in Congress, scraps the Bush administration's Vision for Space Exploration and signals a major reorientation of NASA, especially in the area of human spaceflight.
"We certainly don't need to go back to the moon," said one administration official.
Everyone interviewed for this article spoke on condition of anonymity, either because they are not authorized to talk for the White House or because they fear for their jobs. All are familiar with the broad sweep of Obama's budget proposal, but none would talk about specific numbers because these are being tightly held by the White House until the release of the budget.
But senior administration officials say the spending freeze for some federal agencies is not going to apply to the space agency in this budget proposal. Officials said NASA was expected to see some "modest" increase in its current $18.7 billion annual budget — possibly $200 million to $300 million more but far less than the $1 billion boost agency officials had hoped for.
They also said that the White House plans to extend the life of the International Space Station to at least 2020. One insider said there would be an "attractive sum" of money — to be spent over several years — for private companies to make rockets to carry astronauts there.
But Obama's budget freeze is likely to hamstring NASA in coming years as the spending clampdown will eventually shackle the agency and its ambitions. And this year's funding request to develop both commercial rockets and a new NASA spaceship will be less than what was recommended by a White House panel of experts last year.
That panel, led by former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine, concluded that to have a "viable" human space-exploration program, NASA needed a $3 billion annual budget hike, and that it would take as much as $5 billion distributed over five years to develop commercial rockets that could carry astronauts safely to and from the space station.
Last year, lawmakers prohibited NASA from canceling any Constellation programs and starting new ones in their place unless the cuts were approved by Congress. The provision sends a "direct message that the Congress believes Constellation is, and should remain, the future of America's human space flight program," wrote U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., last month.
Nevertheless, NASA contractors have been quietly planning on the end of Ares I, which is years behind schedule and millions of dollars over budget. NASA has already spent more than $3 billion on Ares I and more than $5 billion on the rest of Constellation.
In recent days, NASA has been soliciting concepts for a new heavy-lift rocket from major contractors, including Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Pratt & Whitney. Last week, a group of moonlighting NASA engineers and rocket hobbyists proposed variations on old agency designs that use the shuttle's main engines and fuel tank to launch a capsule into space. According to officials and industry executives familiar with the presentations, some of the contractor designs are very similar to the one pressed by the hobbyists.
Officially, companies such as Boeing still support Constellation and its millions of dollars of contracts. Some believe that in a battle with Congress, Ares may survive.
"I would not say Ares is dead yet," said an executive with one major NASA contractor. "It's probably more accurate to say it's on life support. We have to wait to see how the coming battle ends."
Few doubt that a fight is looming. In order to finance new science and technology programs and find money for commercial rockets, Obama will be killing off programs that have created jobs in some powerful constituencies, including the Marshall Space Flight Center in Shelby's Alabama. But the White House is said to be ready for a fight.
The end of the shuttle program this year is already going to slash 7,000 jobs at Kennedy Space Center.
One administration official said the budget will send a message that it's time members of Congress recognize that NASA can't design space programs to create jobs in their districts. "That's the view of the president," the official said.