I'm a bit disappointed by this news, but also a bit encouraged.
WASHINGTON - NASA will not be getting the $1 billion budget boost civil space advocates had hoped to see when President Barack Obama sends his 2011 spending proposal to Congress Feb. 1, requiring the U.S. space agency to make even tougher than expected choices about the future of its manned space program, according to sources with close ties to the administration.
These sources declined to reveal the fate of NASA's planned Ares I crew launch vehicle, which many observers see as a likely cancellation target, but they did say the budget proposal would fund a multibillion-dollar effort to foster development of commercial systems for ferrying astronauts to the International Space Station.
I'm disappointed because I hate to see space exploration held up or scaled back, and I had hoped to see NASA put that new crew vehicle into operations and to establish a presence on the moon. Soon.
But I am also a little encouraged because the federal government seems to be moving the innovations more to the private sector, which is a good thing. Private investment did more to develop the aviation industry in the U.S. than government investment (though, of course, governmental influence was an important part of that development), and I think something similar could be accomplished for the space industry. So, I remain hopeful.