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Obama to Integrate U.S. Military Launch Craft into NASA to Boost Us Into China’s Trajectory? January 18, 2009

Posted by Nick Azer in NASA, Obama.
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In the wake of China’s destruction of an aging satellite of their own and their rapidly advancing space capability in general, the Obama transition team (as reported by Bloomberg.com) is considering tapping the military space program (which spent $22 billion in 2008, about a third more than NASA, according to that report) to help accelerate NASA’s efforts.

The key benefit is that instead of having to develop the new Ares rockets to launch Orion craft (the Space Shuttle’s successor), NASA could utilize already-developed rockets used by the military: the Atlas V (pictured above, and already used by NASA on occasion) and Delta IV (pictured below), both built by a combined BoeingLockheed Martin effort called the United Launch Alliance.

The concern is that the U.S. is not moving fast enough to counter China’s space progress, which could potentially become hostile if they reach (or even surpass) our level of capability. By getting the military’s efforts in there with NASA’s, that gives NASA a lot more fuel and thrust, so to speak. going into the future.

A side effect of integrating the two programs’ arcs is that this could cause the cancellation of the Ares rockets, a point that was reportedly a significant part of apparent strife between the current (outoing) NASA administrator, Mike Griffin, and the Obama transition team.

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