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Whither America’s Human Space Program?

9 Jan 2012, 13:21 UTC
Whither America’s Human Space Program?
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What will provide the justification for America to invest in space? Continue reading →

The 2012 Presidential campaign dominates the news but space policy rarely gets mentioned; and when it does the mention is often ill-informed or very abstract. Perhaps that will change.
The old paradigms supporting America’s space program have faded; China has not replaced the Soviet Union as an opponent which requires a national demonstration of technical capabilities. Spinoffs and jobs provided from space are overlooked in the larger economic mess. Science is nice but hardly urgent when the debate centers on the national debt or the social safety net.
Somehow, the ½ of 1 percent of the federal budget that gets spent purely on the future has gotten overlooked.
Almost three years ago, the Review of Human Plans Committee (aka “the Augustine Commission”) was announced. I know we all had great hopes of that commission and its report. Whatever you may think of their work – and I believe a lot of it was good – the political leadership in Washington has made hash of the nation’s space policy. Not only did the current administration fail to adopt any of the major options which Augustine reported ...

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