15 April 2010
Obama aims to send astronauts to Mars orbit in 2030s
By Staff Writers
Space Travel

http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Obama_aims _to_send_astronauts_to_Mars_orbit_in_2030s_999.html

UNITED STATES, Cape Canaveral : CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - APRIL 15: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) exits Air Force One with U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) US Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and former Astronaut Buzz Aldrin at the shuttle landing facility at Kennedy Space Center April 15, 2010 in Cape Canaveral, Floridia. Obama is holding a summit to discuss the future of the space program. Matt Stroshane/Getty Images/AFP

Key points of Obama's overhaul of US space program

Washington (AFP) April 15, 2010 - President Barack Obama on Thursday unveiled his administration's vision for America's future in space. Below are some of key points of his proposed overhaul of the US space program.

-- Increase NASA's budget by six billion dollars over five years

-- Create more than 2,500 additional jobs in Florida's Kennedy Space Center area by 2012

-- Accelerate major work on building a new heavy-lift rocket, with a commitment to decide in 2015 on the specific heavy-lift rocket that could take US astronauts deeper into space.

-- Launch a succession of precursor robotic exploration missions to scout out locations for future human missions

-- Restructure the Constellation program and direct NASA to develop the Orion crew capsule effort in order to provide stand-by emergency escape capabilities for the Space Station, in the process reducing US reliance on foreign providers.

-- Establish the technological foundation for future crew spacecraft needed for missions beyond low Earth orbit

-- Increase the number of astronaut days in space by 3,500 in the coming decade

-- Extend the life of the International Space Station, possibly beyond 2020

-- Jumpstart a new commercial space transportation industry to provide safe and efficient crew and cargo transportation to the Space Station, projected to create over 10,000 jobs across the United States over the next five years.

US President Barack Obama said Thursday he is aiming to send US astronauts into Mars orbit in the mid-2030s as he sought to quell protests over his earlier space policies.

"By 2025 we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first ever crew missions beyond the moon into deep space," Obama told an audience at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"So, we'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history. By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to earth, and a landing on Mars will follow."

Obama, who was accompanied on his trip by astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the moon, vowed he was "100 percent committed" to NASA's mission as he sought to set a new course for future US space travel.

The US president was making a whirlwind trip to the heart of the US space industry after he was hit with stinging criticism for dropping the costly Constellation project which had aimed to put Americans back on the moon.

"We should attempt a return to the surface of the moon first, as previously planned. But I just have to say, pretty bluntly here, we've been there before. Buzz has been there," Obama said.

"There's a lot more of space to explore and a lot more to learn when we do," the president said, as he unveiled a plan to increase NASA's budget by six billion dollars over the next five years.

His plan includes ramping up "robotic exploration of the solar system, including a probe of the sun's atmosphere, new scouting missions to Mars and other destinations, and an advanced telescope to follow Hubble," he said.

"As president, I believe that space exploration is not a luxury, it's not an afterthought in America's quest for a brighter future. It is an essential part of that quest," he said at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

"I am 100 percent committed to the mission of NASA and its future."

Obama also pledged that the new plan would create some 2,500 jobs along the so-called space coast in the next two years.

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