Dr. Sally Ride said yesterday that the United States can not afford to send astonauts anywhere but to low earth orbit (LEO) with the current NASA budget, reports The New York Times. "You just can’t get there,” America's first female astonaut said in Washington yesterday.
Florida Today is reporting that the 'Dash Out of Low Earth Orbit' is not among the recommendations being made to the White House by the commission. The report indicates that no human mission is recommended outside of Earth orbit with NASA's current federal budget projections. Noted space commentator William 'Bill' Harwood writes of the grim projections without a major infusion on new NASA budget monies.
On the other hand, Bloomberg reports that Dr. Ride spoke of a deep-space scenario leading to human lunar return by 2030 -- a decade later than envisioned now but based on NASA budget increases of about $3 billion more annually than current projections. MIT's Technology Review reports that the commission could suggest embarking human missions to asteroids.
The New York Times reports that, in the end, the presidential commission agreed to treat Mars not as an option, but as the end goal of all options. Nonetheless, the Augustine panel favors development of commercial rockets and capsules to ferry astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit, a major departure from past practice notes The Wall Street Jorunal.