President Obama signed into law Monday a sweeping realignment of NASA's priorities. His overhaul scraps the Bush-era Constellation program to return Americans to the moon, adds a program to send astronauts to asteroids, then Mars, and provides seed money for commercial space-flight ventures to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. Will this reinvigorate America's space program?
Hooray for this "long-needed course correction": Credit Obama's "blaze of vision and comprehension" for saving our space program from itself and Congress, says Rick Tumlinson in The Huffingtion Post. By unleashing the "genius and cost-lowering capabilities of the U.S. private sector" on now-routine low-orbit space missions, we've freed up "billions of dollars" for NASA to do what it was meant to do: Move us further into "the new frontier."
"The battle for the Frontier — A historic moment"
Don't bet on this approach enduring: Obama is only the latest president "attempting to recapture the magic" of the Apollo era, says Jeff Foust in The Space Review. The last one who tried? George W. Bush, whose Constellation program died in Obama's bill, despite the program's "strong start" in Congress. Why should Obama's plan, with its "fumbled, low-key rollout," keep Congress' interest and funding for the next 15 years?
"Milestones and transitions"
Good or bad, welcome to the "Obama era": This is still "a victory for the White House" and commercial space travel, says Kyle Daley in Death and Taxes. In fact, "the transition from the Kennedy-era space agency to the Obama era" began before he even signed the bill, with NASA contractor layoffs and Sunday's seminal Virgin Galactic suborbital flight. Still, what won't change is America's "contentious debate" about the future of NASA and space travel.
"NASA's new direction"