Right-wingers were angry that the Obama Administration was declining to finance new trips to the moon. But since they’re true believers in the free market, maybe they’ll be happy to hear that the President’s new budget includes a scheme to privatize space travel.
The Washington Post learns from the Administration that while NASA manned space exploration and shuttle service will be defunded, NASA will be given $6 billion to develop “a commercial spacecraft that could taxi astronauts into low Earth orbit.” But it won’t be done the old-fashioned, big-government way: “A private company would design and build the spacecraft with NASA looking over its shoulder.” Thereafter NASA would be, not a provider, but a customer of private space-flight firms that would eventually ferry citizens into space for a fee.
The Fort Myers News-Press reports that out of the $6 billion, “we predict that at least $2.5 billion of that money will be directed to developing commercial crew transportation services.”
The International Space Station is expected to be maintained until 2020 at least, and relatively cheap (< $800 million) unmanned exploration missions will continue to be sent up.
In central Florida, which region has been economically tied to Big NASA for decades, they’re naturally upset. “Now people are concerned and worried about what will become of Titusville and the surrounding area with the expected loss of nearly 7,000 jobs,” says Central Florida News 13. And of course NASA officials complain about a loss of safety.
Sounds like a right-wing wet dream, yes? Maybe not. Talk radio host John Batchelor says, “the deep question is why POTUS hates manned flight?” and “Cold War 1.0 is now to be replaced by Russian grinning at our penury and policy in Cold War 2.0.” He also twits the President for believing in global warming. We mean, come on: It’s Obama proposing this stuff–it’s got to be wrong.