Secret Space programs go way back with NASA simply the public show. With that being said, members of congress recently laid claims that politics need to be removed from NASA programs. During a hearing with the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology concerning NASA’s Journey to Mars initiative the future of public U.S. space technologies and exploration was discussed.
Congress claims the Obama administration sabotaged different space programs while taking away congressional powers. Congress and NASA advisers made claims that more detailed plans of the Mars initiative need to be submitted for various reasons including the upcoming new administration.
With the Mars missions well underway, congress hearings blasted NASA with allegations that the space agency is unprepared and success is currently unlikely. The recent hearings brought claims that the program needs a better plan and clear indicators showing that NASA is actually moving toward landing astronauts on Mars. Simultaneously, NASA’s Orion is actively exploring Mars with robotics on the surface. Some testimony also included the notion that the humans on Mars initiative should possibly be replaced with another human moon exploration. The Chinese have recently announced an initiate involving the dark side of the moon kicking off with a probe landing in 2018. Whats really going on?
Recently NASA accused Congress of choosing Russia over America mainly involving the international space station and spoke out against relying on Russia over the future of the American Space Program. Recently Congressional cuts to NASA’s commercial crew program forced NASA to buy more seats for US astronauts on Russian Soyuz capsules.
“Due to their continued reductions in the president’s funding requests for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program over the past several years, NASA was forced to extend its existing contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) to transport American astronauts to the International Space Station. This contract modification is valued at about $490 million,” said NASA.
NASA Administrator Bolden made the statement “I am asking that we put past disagreements behind us and focus our collective efforts on support for American industry – the Boeing Corporation and SpaceX – to complete construction and certification of their crew vehicles so that we can begin launching our crews from the Space Coast of Florida in 2017.”
“Our Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contractors are on track today to provide certified crew transportation systems in 2017,” says Bolden..
Bolden also stated “Reductions from the FY 2016 request for Commercial Crew proposed in the House and Senate FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations bills would result in NASA’s inability to fund several planned CCtCap milestones in FY 2016 and would likely result in funds running out for both contractors during the spring/summer of FY 2016.”
“If this occurs, the existing fixed-price CCtCap contracts may need to be renegotiated, likely resulting in further schedule slippage and increased cost.”
NASA’s CCtCAP contract ends sole reliance on the Russian Soyuz capsule by 2017 and includes the first orbital flights of the new ‘space taxis’ bringing astronauts to the International Space Station scheduled to begin in 2017 based on NASA’s ability to pay aerospace contractors.