There’s a kink in the road to the moon (sad, unfortunate, but definitely not surprising):
panel eliminated $438 million the administration had requested to begin
work on a new “crew exploration vehicle” to replace the space shuttle,
cut its request for medical and biological research in space by $103
million, and eliminated $70 million for lunar exploration.
share was $15.1 billion, down $229 million from this fiscal year and
$1.1 billion below the president’s request, effectively slowing the
administration’s plans to reorient NASA’s priorities toward a return to
the moon and eventual human space travel to Mars.
made it clear in its as-yet-unpublished report on the proposed
legislation that it did not fully agree with the president’s
priorities: “While the committee is supportive of the exploration
aspect of NASA’s vision, the committee does not believe it warrants top
billing over science and aeronautics,” said the report.
took a positive tone. Glenn Mahone, a spokesman for NASA Administrator
Sean O’Keefe, noted that “even within these very tight constraints, the
subcommittee fully funded the shuttle and Mars exploration programs and
expressed support for the new vision.”
The committee also
expressed skepticism that the administration can finish building the
international space station by 2010 and then retire the shuttle.
needs to reevaluate this date in the context of the current budget
environment and the technical challenges associated both with
return-to-flight activities and the new system development needs,” the
panel’s report said.
The report was also urged NASA not to forgo
the option of a shuttle servicing mission to the Hubble Space
Telescope. O’Keefe has all but ruled out a shuttle mission to Hubble
and is focusing instead on servicing of the telescope with a robotic