60s Space Stunt Redux or Pretend 60s Stunt Redux?

Posted: October 14, 2010 in Uncategorized
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Let's Go Space Truckin'?

 

Many have hypothesized that in the 1960s, America’s manned space programs were largely a series of stunts designed to demonstrate the superiority of the U.S. economic and social models versus those of the Soviet Union.

So are the administration’s current plans for manned space another series of space stunts?  If not, what are we trying to do?  If so, who are we trying to impress?

From Air Force Magazine:

The Obama Administration’s space budget, released in February, ended NASA’s Constellation program, which aimed to return man to the moon. The Administration also truncated development of the Ares next generation launch systems. It chose to focus instead on preparations for a grandiose manned mission to Mars.

In a visit to the Kennedy Space Center on April 15, President Obama forecast a bold future of “the first-ever crewed missions beyond the moon into deep space,” launching crews to asteroids, orbiting Mars, and then, in the “mid-2030s” landing on the “Red Planet” and returning to Earth.

Regardless of the purpose of our manned space program, the idea that we don’t need to go back to the moon because…because we were first there 40-plus years ago belies the fact the U.S. space industrial base first needs to be able and support manned space flight to low earth orbit, then to lunar missions, and then beyond lunar missions.

Conversely, you could ask “Why should I follow the ‘crawl, walk, run model’ when in my mind I believe I can go directly to the Olympic 100-meter finals?”

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