America is no longer a space-faring nation. The Obama Administration's recent budget kills the successfully-tested Ares rocket, meant to replace the Space Shuttle as a workhorse for future manned missions. Billions of dollars will be spent to pay off private companies, whose contracts must be broken as a result of this decision. Starting in 2011, when the last Space Shuttle is retired, NASA, which over 40 years ago sent men to the Moon, will be unable to launch any astronauts into space. Overall, the Administration redirects NASA from goal-oriented human spaceflight and exploration to scientific experiments and equipment-testing, relegating our astronauts to commercial space flights – without explaining why, how, or when Americans will be back in space. Goal? Unknown. Damage to American leadership, both in space and on earth? Profound.
The rest of the editorial lays out a bold vision for NASA with I definitely endorse.