Monday, March 1, 2010

NASA "gets flak" on proposed space policy

Andy Pasztor
Wall Street Journal

NASA chief Charles Bolden is running into strong political headwinds, including escalating criticism of his leadership, as the space agency pursues the Obama administration's plan to outsource manned exploration flights to private industry.

Internal agency disputes and opposition from lawmakers in both parties are likely to make it harder for the Obama administration to accomplish this goal.

"Some critics fault Mr. Bolden for failing to alert industry executives and congressional leaders about the abrupt change in direction. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who chairs a Science subcommittee that oversees NASA, said last week that proposing such dramatic changes "without consulting with members [of Congress], without talking to the defense industry [and] without building a hard to stomach."

"Even some staunch champions of privately developed human spacecraft question some of NASA's latest goals.Renowned engineer and aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan last week sent a letter to lawmakers expressing concern that commercial entrepreneurs didn't have the incentives to take astronauts beyond low-earth orbit. In an email on Friday, Mr. Rutan elaborated by saying that for decades NASA hasn't developed any new manned spacecraft, and "the new plan almost guarantees another decade or two of the same behavior."
Read the full article, HERE.

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