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Astronomy

Obama outlines NASA path to the future

SPIE Newsroom
15 April 2010

President  Barack Obama visited NASA's Kennedy Space Center on April 15 and told the assembled workers, officials, and astronauts attending a space conference that he is "100 percent committed to the mission of NASA and its future."

Outlining a "transformative agenda" of budget increases and new technology, such as more than $3 billion on an advanced heavy-lift rocket for missions far into space, the President promised an increased investment in groundbreaking technology needed to make long trips into space possible. For the rocket, he promised that NASA would have a "new design by 2015 and then begin to build it."

Among the missions he mentioned in the speech were robotic exploration of our solar system, scouting missions to Mars, earth-based ex;loration of the environment, and extending the life of the International Space Station. He also encouraged efforts to outsource getting to space, saying private companies can make it easier and more affordable.

"NASA has always relied on private industry," he said, citing examples from five decades of the space program. By buying some transportation services, he said, NASA can accelerate the pace of innovation.

The President's appearance opened a conference at NASA on the American Space Program for the 21st Century.  The conference session topics are

  • Increasing Access to and Utilization of the International Space Station
  • Jumpstarting the New Technologies to Take Us Beyond
  • Expanding our Reach into the Solar System
  • Harnessing Space to Expand Economic Opportunity

NASA website Space Conference page

Obama promises renewed space program (New York Times)