The President’s budget request for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in fiscal year 2011, released 1 Feb. 2010, added $6 billion over five years. The $6 billion increase was accompanied by instructions as to how the money should be invested, which was hotly criticized at the time. Looking back nearly a year later, it’s evident that the additional funding has been a boon to the aerospaceTakeindustry (and the spending advice wasn’t too bad either).
The budgetary plan for NASA was criticized extensively, especially for ending the Constellation program started under former President George W. Bush. “An independent panel found that Constellation was years behind schedule and would require large budget increases to land even a handful of astronauts back on the Moon before 2030. Instead, we are launching a bold new effort that invests in American ingenuity for developing more capable and innovative technologies for future space exploration,” read the Budget Highlights of “The Budget for Fiscal Year 2011.” (Budget information and documentation is publicly available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget.)
When NASA essentially halted its efforts to put more men in space, the commercial industry ramped up its efforts in that regard. Billionaires launched into action, in fact. It has been a phenomenal ride so far, and it’s just the beginning. (Be sure to read about Virgin Galactic and SpaceX in my blogs.)
The plan also called for “flagship exploration technology development and demonstration programs of ‘game-changing’ technologies that will increase the reach and reduce the costs of future human space exploration, as well as other NASA, government, and commercial space activities.”
A wealth of technology companies are unveiling aerospace innovations, and it’s a trend this geek hopes will continue well into the future. Don’t count out NASA, however; it isn’t out of the game at all—a claim I plan to support in my next couple blog entries. Stay tuned!