NASA Announces New Budget

NASA administrator Charles Bolden spoke about the space agency's new budget at a press conference at 12:30. Looks like returning to the Moon in the near future is being dropped - this is what the Augustine panel recommended. Not unexpected, but will disappoint many.

The budget is focusing on robotic missions and Earth and climate science. The International Space Station is going to get some money.

The Constellation program is being canceled. Future of human expolaration is unclear - no timelines were given. No funding line for solid rocket motors beyond 2010, it seems.

However, Bolden spoke about "in-orbit fuel depots" and how to "reduce aircraft fuel needs" as areas that the agency will focus on.

The budget is being billed as "more sustainable." Obama is expanding funding by $6 billion.

Realizing that the cancelation of manned spaceflights to the Moon will be perceived as killing a source of inspiration to young and old, Bolden spent quite a bit of time reassuring reporters that it was otherwise.

He said NASA was "absolutely committed to inspiring young people."

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