As we have witnessed the consistent efforts by congress to slash and cut the NASA budget, many have wondered what may lie ahead for our beloved space program. Budget cuts present a real threat to the goals and ambitions of the NASA program. Bill Nye, head of the Planetary Society, and well-known figure in today’s science, has expressed these shared concerns in a letter to President Obama. Despite cuts, the Obama administration has not completely neglected NASA programs, repeatedly insisting the U.S. should not rely on foreign nations to get into space. One might suggest that recent heated relations with Russia have provided quite the catalyst.
In the wake of proposed budget cuts and uncertainty of these NASA programs, the private industry has taken the lead. Companies from all over the aerospace industry have submitted proposals to NASA, exposing a light at the end of the tunnel – a very bright light. NASA announced earlier this month that it will be partnering with American companies Boeing and SpaceX with the hopes of returning space launches to American soil. Both have already submitted designs to transport astronauts to the International Space Station, which could be operational within a few years.
Over the last 2 years, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences have initiated the pathway for US-launched missions by transporting cargo to the International Space Station. With the help of Boeing and SpaceX, NASA is closer to taxiing astronauts to and from space. Not only will we end our reliance on Russia, but we will bring human spaceflight launches back to American soil.
NASA is launching a new and ambitious chapter of the iconic American program. SpaceX founder and Tesla Motors CEO, Elon Musk, remains enthusiastic as he publicly expresses his vision for the future of space travel. The dreamers at SpaceX and Boeing possess the vision and knowhow to accomplish these goals. Today, we are a step closer to launching our astronauts into space from U.S. soil on American-made spacecraft. Tomorrow may find us closer to putting humans on Mars. The future is bright.