On Monday, the Obama administration announced its 2010 budget for NASA. It cancels plans to return to the moon by 2020 and focuses on using commercial companies to ferry astronauts to and from orbit.
While some are up in arms over the future of human spaceflight, Buzz Aldrin is backing the president in an editorial in The Huffington Post.
Aldrin calls Obama’s decision his “JFK moment.” He praises the president for deciding “to redirect our nation’s space policy away from the foolish and underfunded Moon race that has consumed NASA for more than six years, aiming instead at boosting the agency’s budget by more than $1 billion more per year over the next five years, topping off at $100 billion for NASA between now and 2015.”
Aldrin has been far from shy about criticizing the Constellation program, previously calling the launch of its prototype rocket, Ares I-X, “fake” and “a little more than a half-a-billion dollar political show.” He thinks that NASA should be spending taxpayer dollars on developing technology for trips to Mars, and he backs a “flexible path” plan that would “redirect NASA towards developing the capability of voyaging to more distant locations in space, such as rendezvous with possibly threatening asteroids, or comets, or even flying by Mars to land on its moons.”
NASA’s administrator, Charles Bolden, said in a press conference Tuesday that he and senior White House officials will spend the next few months devising a new overarching goal for NASA, and a schedule for developing technologies to send astronauts to destinations as yet unknown.
But Obama’s budget proposal still has to be approved by congress. “My biggest fear is that this amounts to a slow death of our nation’s human space flight program,” Representative Bill Posey, Republican of Florida, said in a statement.