Obama Defends NASA Policy in Kennedy Space Center Speech

[Satellite TODAY 04-16-10] U.S. space exploration will reach beyond the moon and further into the solar system’s reaches by 2025, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
    Despite criticism from the space industry over his cuts to NASA’s Orion program, announced in February, Obama said that he “ remains 100 percent committed to the mission of NASA and its future,” but defended his plans to use federal funding to bring more private companies into space exploration following the retirement of the Space Shuttle program.
“We want to leap into the future, not continue on the same path as before … The bottom line is: Nobody is more committed to manned space flight, the human exploration of space, than I am. But we’ve got to do it in a smart way,” Obama said.
    While Obama’s NASA policy has its share of critics, the plan also has supporters in the U.S. commercial launch industry.
    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said the President reached a “reasonable” conclusion that spending $50 billion to develop a NASA launch vehicle replacement for the Space Shuttle is too expensive. “By the time President Obama cancelled Ares I/Orion earlier this year, the schedule had already slipped five years to 2017 and completing development would have required another $50 billion.  Moreover, the cost per flight, inclusive of overhead, was estimated to be at least $1.5 billion compared to the $1 billion of Shuttle, despite carrying only four people to Shuttle’s seven and almost no cargo,” Musk said in a statement.

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