When President Obama unveiled his budget in February, it included an increase in NASA funding. Despite tough economic times, more than $100 billion over the next five years is earmarked for NASA. Nonetheless, the proposed budget still caused upset for those involved in the U.S. space program, including the wealth of aerospace contractors, subcontractors, systems integrators, and technology companies delivering systems and components.
The proposed space budget through 2015 outlined the Obama Administration’s plans for the money allotted to NASA–and it included blazing “a new trail” and largely grounding U.S. astronauts. The aerospace industry and the country—which was then celebrating the 40th anniversary of the moon landing and which had long known the nation to be in what is considered a neck-and-neck space race—were, at the very least, concerned (many were outraged).
Members of Congress reacted quickly, especially those representing states that have the most to lose (jobs, income, etc.) in an already challenging economy. This month, President Obama countered criticisms that he was ending the U.S. human spaceflight program, saying in a White House conference that “nobody is more committed to manned spaceflight, to human exploration of space” than he. He does insist, however, that NASA try a different approach
I had the benefit of sitting down with various aerospace organizations—from prime contractors to the electronics component and system manufacturers that serve them, to academia and industry organizations—last week. Many experienced some recoiling after February’s budget announcement, as well as some slow down from the challenging economy; however, most were doing well, growing profits, and enthusiastic and optimistic about the future. The general consensus? Demand for radiation-hardened electronics components and equipment is growing. Commercial and military aerospace endeavors and applications, especially in the realm of satellites, are keeping industry players busy and the market thriving. Technology firms continue to roll out aerospace innovations…including Mentor Graphics, with its new Precision Rad-Tolerant FPGA design solution.
This geek is glad to hear we will continue to boldly go…