Sunday, January 4, 2009

Obama: Pentagon and NASA To Work Ever Closer

In a article posted to (on January 02, 2009) and later on Drudge (where I found out about it); President-elect Barack Obama wants the Pentagon and NASA to work together to speed up a mission to the moon to counter what many preceive to be a new space race - between China and the United States of America. As a part of this effort to boost coperation between the two govermental agencies, the Obama team is promising to revive the National Aeronautics and Space Council which was in effect back in the First Space race era (basically from 1958 to 1973). The photograph above is of China's first space walk last year.

The Obama transition team is looking into a collaboraton between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)because the rockets used my the military are cheaper and more readly availiable than the space agency's planned Orion/Aries launch system. The later isn't expected to fly until around 2015 - five years after the shuttles are to be ground according to the rules that the President George W. Bush administration set into place.

One doesn't have to be in the Defense Department nor a Pentagon planner to be concerned over China's space ambitions. DoD is more concern over the fact of China's anti-satellite warfare capablitiy than if they land on the moon. But the technology to get to the moon such as in-orbit rendevous and docking, have our DoD sleeping less these nights.

The Pentagon's space budget is several times larger than the NASA budget. In the article, it was quoted as being about $22 billion for fiscal year 2008. That money, the Obama team sees, can be tapped in order to get the Orion/Aries moving quicker to flight status. And the Pentagon is actually in support of combining launch vehicles. NASA hasn't spoken with the Pentagon over man rating the Delta IV and or the Atlas V rockets built by United Launch Alliance (a joint venture of Boeing and Bethesda, which is a Maryland-based Lockheed Martin Corp.). The Delta IV and the Atlas V are designed for launching satellites.

One would think that it would not take too much time to man rate the newest generation of the Atlas booster. The Delta series has never launched a human occuplied space capsule. It would take longer to man rate it than the Atlas V.

As it current stands, China will be able to get their people to the moon before we can get back there. China space agency currently plans on testing a auto-docking system in 2010.


Ref. article "Obama Moves to Counter China with Pentagon-NASA Link Part 1."by Demian McLean ( )

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