[FPSPACE] Possible Manned Spaceflight Hiatus
cletusscharle at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 9 16:24:56 EDT 2005
"What happens in, say, 2009 when we haven't been flying for several years,
the program is running over budget and the deficit is still howling in the
background? The money gets taken away because it is easier to shut off a
"human" spaceflight program that is not flying humans than it is to shut off
program that _is_ flying people.
Possibly things would not be quite that bad. Remember that we have had
intervals of time in which the United States did not launch men into space
for a number of years. The longest was the 6 years between ASTP and the
first STS launch. We will probably have practically a three year gap in
STS flights by the time the current problems are "solved".
Space exploration is an area where programs (especially manned programs)
last decades. The deficit is alway "howling" in the background, as are
demands for money domestically, for defense, and occassionly for foreign
adventures. There is always an equilibrium level of political support for
space exploration. Our objective should be to design a mix of unmanned and
manned programs that can exist at that equilibrium level. If this means
stopping shuttle flights, so be it.
I think that the public will support gaps in manned or unmanned spaceflight
programs as long as there is credible, visible progress to an obviously
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