China Academy of Space Technology continues R&D into Commercialization of Solar Power Satellites

The Online Journal of Space Communication Issue No. 16 on Solar Power Satellites continues to obtain submissions, including a paper on Solar Power Satellite Research in China. Excerpts are below.

Abstract. In its long-term vision, the responsibility for ensuring China’s food safety for its huge population, meeting its international obligations for environmental protection and providing the structure for its energy needs have determined that the direction of future development of low-carbon energy sources cannot be to sacrifice the “inner” earth. Thus, the state has decided that power coming from outside of the earth, such as solar power and development of other space energy resources, is to be China’s future direction. Space based solar power (SBSP), and the development of solar power satellites (SPS) to facilitate renewable energy production, is one of the “outside” approaches currently under development in China. Based on China’s future vision for energy development, this paper will present why SPS development is important for China. A brief introduction to China’s SPS project is given.

SPS Research in China. China’s first SPS research started in the late 20th century. In the new millennium, when the energy issue became a constraint on sustainable development in China, the China Academy of Space Technology submitted to the government a “Necessity and Feasibility Study Report of SPS.” Later, an SPS concept design was activated, approved and funded by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). CAST’s present SPS system oriented study is the first to address its key components, and to define a baseline or reference system that will allow a relatively accurate determination of mass and cost in China.

Based on China’s SPS scenario, there are 5 steps to achieving the first commercial SPS system. In 2010, CAST will finish the concept design; in 2020, we will finish the industrial level testing of in-orbit construction and wireless transmissions. In 2025, we will complete the first 100kW SPS demonstration at LEO; and in 2035, the 100mW SPS will have electric generating capacity. Finally in 2050, the first commercial level SPS system will be in operation at GEO.

Space settlement is the alternative to a pessimistic future

NSS Senior Operating Officer Mark Hopkins writes on Alternative Futures in the latest issue of Ad Astra magazine:

Because the Earth is running out of resources, the media is full of stories about our limited future. The public has been told over and over again that we live on a planet with finite resources, that the economic system is closed, resource availability is declining, and the environment is deteriorating.

As a consequence, for the first time in history Americans are pessimistic. A fundamental part of the American dream is that each generation will be better off than the previous one. Polls taken before the current recession show that Americans no longer believe this to be true. Pessimism about the future among Europeans is even greater.

But the reason for all of this pessimism is not true. Members of the Space Movement know that resources are not limited to those which are available on Earth. We can tap into the truly vast resources that await in space. Space is the alternative to a pessimistic future.

Read full article.


The National Space Society applauds President Obama for his expression of firm commitment for human spaceflight, and for moving forward in refining the administration’s plan for space exploration.
Following the announcement of the President’s FY2011 budget proposal for NASA, the Society advocated for the inclusion of more detailed goals.  NSS is gratified to see President Obama take another step in that direction to secure America’s position as a global leader in space.  This will foster a new space economy servicing the needs of America and humankind.
The President’s speech of April 15, 2010 stated emphatically his, and his administration’s, commitment to the mission of NASA and its role in providing for the future. He stressed a focus on future accomplishments and laid out a plan for

— dramatically increased robotic exploration and scouting missions,

— an advanced replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope,

— an array of expanded Earth/climate sensing work,

— extension of the life of the International Space Station and provision of funds to use it to the fullest,

— support for commercial transportation initiatives for cargo and crew,

— development of the Orion spacecraft to serve as a Space Station Crew Emergency Vehicle and its evolution to a Beyond Earth Orbit exploration vehicle,

— design completion for a Heavy Lift Launch capability no later than 2015 followed by the production of the vehicle,

— investment in the Technology, Research, and Development to enable the use of the material resources and energy in space and to address the challenges of the Beyond Earth Orbit space environment (such as radiation shielding, advanced propulsion, etc.), and

human Beyond Earth Orbit missions to asteroids within the next two decades, Mars orbit by the mid-2030s, and the Martian surface in his lifetime.

The President stressed the importance of a transformative agenda for NASA, and the critical role of breakthrough technologies in enabling NASA and our nation to create the future we wish to see come to pass.

The Society congratulates the president for refining his vision to include such incremental goals as the design of a Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle by 2015, and a preliminary timetable for human exploration destinations.
The National Space Society has and continues to be a staunch advocate of a balanced, comprehensive, sustainable, and personally engaging mosaic of space programs that will transform our tomorrows.
The President has committed his administration to making it so.
The National Space Society looks forward to working with the executive branch, congress, industry, the space advocacy community, and the general public to foster, achieve, and sustain the consensus needed to see it come to fruition.
The President’s remarks can be seen on the National Space Society’s Web site:
NSS will follow-up with subsequent statements as more details emerge.

SpaceX comments on President's plan

SpaceX President Elon Musk released the following statement on the President’s space plan.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Apollo Moon landing was one of humanity’s greatest achievements. Millennia from now, when the vast majority of the 20th century is reduced to a few footnotes known only to erudite scholars of history, they will still remember that was when we first set foot upon a heavenly body. It was a mere 66 years after the first powered airplane flight by the Wright brothers.

In the 41 years that have passed since 1969, we have yet to surpass that achievement in human spaceflight. Since then, our capability has actually declined considerably and to a degree that would yield shocked disbelief from anyone in that era. By now, we were supposed to have a base on the Moon, perhaps even on Mars, and have sent humans traveling on great odysseys to the outer planets. Instead, we have been confined to low Earth orbit and even that ends this year with the retirement of the Space Shuttle.

In 2003, following the Columbia accident, President Bush began development of a system to replace the Shuttle, called the Ares I rocket and Orion spacecraft. It is important to note that this too would only have been able to reach low Earth orbit. Many in the media mistakenly assumed it was capable of reaching the Moon. As is not unusual with large government programs, the schedule slipped by several years and costs ballooned by tens of billions.

By the time President Obama cancelled Ares I/Orion earlier this year, the schedule had already slipped five years to 2017 and completing development would have required another $50 billion. Moreover, the cost per flight, inclusive of overhead, was estimated to be at least $1.5 billion compared to the $1 billion of Shuttle, despite carrying only four people to Shuttle’s seven and almost no cargo.

The President quite reasonably concluded that spending $50 billion to develop a vehicle that would cost 50% more to operate, but carry 50% less payload was perhaps not the best possible use of funds. To quote a member of the Augustine Commission, which was convened by the President to analyze Ares/Orion, “If Santa Claus brought us the system tomorrow, fully developed, and the budget didn’t change, our next action would have to be to cancel it,” because we can’t afford the annual operating costs.

Cancellation was therefore simply a matter of time and thankfully we have a President with the political courage to do the right thing sooner rather than later. We can ill afford the expense of an “Apollo on steroids”, as a former NASA Administrator referred to the Ares/Orion program. A lesser President might have waited until after the upcoming election cycle, not caring that billions more dollars would be wasted. It was disappointing to see how many in Congress did not possess this courage. One senator in particular was determined to achieve a new altitude record in hypocrisy, claiming that the public option was bad in healthcare, but good in space!

Thankfully, as a result of funds freed up by this cancellation, there is now hope for a bright future in space exploration. The new plan is to harness our nation’s unparalleled system of free enterprise (as we have done in all other modes of transport), to create far more reliable and affordable rockets. Handing over Earth orbit transport to American commercial companies, overseen of course by NASA and the FAA, will free up the NASA resources necessary to develop interplanetary transport technologies. This is critically important if we are to reach Mars, the next giant leap in human exploration of the Universe.

Today, the President will articulate an ambitious and exciting new plan that will alter our destiny as a species. I believe this address could be as important as President Kennedy’s 1962 speech at Rice University. For the first time since Apollo, our country will have a plan for space exploration that inspires and excites all who look to the stars. Even more important, it will work.


Obama's speech on Space Exploration in the 21st Century

Remarks of President Barack Obama
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Space Exploration in the 21st Century
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Kennedy Space Center

I want to thank Senator Bill Nelson and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden for their leadership. And I want to recognize Doctor Buzz Aldrin as well. Four decades ago, Buzz became a legend. But in the four decades since he has also been one of America’s leading visionaries and authorities on human space flight.

Few people – present company excluded – can claim the expertise of Buzz, Bill, and Charlie when it comes to space exploration. And few people are as singularly unimpressed by Air Force One. Sure, it’s comfortable. But it can’t even reach low Earth orbit. That is in striking contrast to the Falcon 9 rocket we just saw on the launch pad, which will be tested for the first time in the coming weeks.

I also want to thank everyone for participating in today’s conference. Gathered here are scientists and engineers, business leaders and public servants, and a few more astronauts as well. And last but not least, I want to thank the men and women of NASA for welcoming me to the Kennedy Space Center, and for your contributions not only to America, but to the world.

Here at the Kennedy Space Center we are surrounded by monuments and milestones to those contributions. It was from here that NASA launched the missions of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. It was from here that Space Shuttle Discovery, piloted by Charlie Bolden, carried the Hubble Telescope into orbit, allowing us to plumb the deepest recesses of our galaxy. It was from here that men and women, propelled by sheer nerve and talent, set about pushing the boundaries of humanity’s reach.

That is the story of NASA. And it’s a story that started a little more than half a century ago, far from the Space Coast, in a remote and desolate region of what is now Kazakhstan. It was from there that the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, which was little more than a few pieces of metal with a transmitter and battery strapped to the top of a missile. The world was stunned. Americans were dumbfounded. The Soviets had taken the lead in a race for which we were not yet fully prepared.

But soon, we would be. President Eisenhower signed legislation to create NASA and to invest in science and math education, from grade school to graduate school. In 1961, President Kennedy boldly declared before a joint session of Congress that the United States would send a man to the Moon and return him safely to the Earth within the decade. And as a nation, we set about meeting that goal, reaping rewards that have in the decades since touched every facet of our lives. NASA was at the forefront. Many gave their careers to the effort. Some have given far more.

In the years that have followed, the Space Race inspired a generation of scientists and innovators, including – I’m sure – many of you. It has contributed to immeasurable technological advances that have improved our health and well-being, from satellite navigation to water purification, from aerospace manufacturing to medical imaging. And leading the world to space helped America achieve new heights of prosperity here on Earth, while demonstrating the power of a free and open society to harness the ingenuity of its people.

I have been part of that generation so inspired by the space program. One of my earliest memories is sitting on my grandfather’s shoulders, waving a flag as astronauts arrived in Hawaii. For me, the space program has always captured an essential part of what it means to be American – reaching for new heights, stretching beyond what previously did not seem possible. And so, as President, I believe that space exploration is not a luxury or an afterthought in America’s quest for a brighter future – it is an essential part of that quest.

Today, I’d like to talk about the next chapter in this story. Now, the challenges facing our space program are different, and our imperatives for this program are different, than in decades past. We are no longer racing against an adversary. We are no longer competing to achieve a singular goal like reaching the Moon. In fact, what was once a global competition has long since become a global collaboration. But while the measure of our achievements has changed a great deal over the past fifty years, what we do – or fail to do – in seeking new frontiers is no less consequential for our future in space and here on Earth.

So let me start by saying this: I am 100 percent committed to the mission of NASA and its future. Because broadening our capabilities in space will continue to serve our society in ways we can scarcely imagine. Because exploration will once more inspire wonder in a new generation: sparking passions, launching careers. And because, ultimately, if we fail to press forward in the pursuit of discovery, we are ceding our future.

I know there have been a number of questions raised about my administration’s plan for space exploration, especially in this part of Florida where so many rely on NASA as a source of income as well as a source of pride and community. And these questions come at a time of transition, as the Space Shuttle nears its scheduled retirement after almost thirty years of service. This adds to the worry of folks concerned not only about their own futures, but about the future of a space program to which they have devoted their lives.

But I also know that underlying these concerns is a deeper worry, one that precedes not only this plan but this administration. It stems from the sense that folks in Washington – driven less by vision than by politics – have for years neglected NASA’s mission and undermined the work of the professionals who fulfill it. We can see that in NASA’s budget, which has risen and fallen with the political winds. But we can also see it in other ways: in the reluctance of those who hold office to set clear and achievable objectives; to provide the resources to meet those objectives; and to justify not just these plans but the larger purpose of space exploration in the 21st century.

That has to change. And with the strategy I’m outlining today, it will. We start by increasing NASA’s budget by $6 billion over the next five years, even as we have instituted a freeze on discretionary spending and sought to make cuts elsewhere in the budget.

We will ramp up robotic exploration of the solar system, including a probe of the Sun’s atmosphere, new scouting missions to Mars and other destinations, and an advanced telescope to follow Hubble, allowing us to peer deeper into the universe than ever before.

We will increase Earth-based observation to improve our understanding of our climate and our world: science that will garner tangible benefits, helping us to protect our environment for future generations.

And we will extend the life of the International Space Station likely by more than five years, while actually using it for its intended purpose: conducting advanced research that can help improve daily life on Earth, as well as testing and improving upon our capabilities in space. This includes technologies like more efficient life support systems that will help reduce the cost of future missions. And in order to reach the Space Station, we will work with a growing array of private companies competing to make getting to space easier and more affordable.

I recognize that some have said it is unfeasible or unwise to work with the private sector in this way. But the truth is, NASA has always relied on private industry to help design and build the vehicles that carry astronauts to space, from the Mercury capsule that carried John Glenn into orbit nearly fifty years ago, to the Space Shuttle Discovery currently orbiting overhead. By buying the service of space transportation – rather than the vehicles themselves – we can continue to ensure rigorous safety standards are met. But we will also accelerate the pace of innovation as companies – from young start-ups to established leaders – compete to design, build, and launch new means of carrying people and materials out of our atmosphere.

In addition, as part of this effort, we will build on the good work already done on the Orion crew capsule. I have directed Charlie Bolden to immediately begin developing a rescue vehicle using this technology, so we are not forced to rely on foreign providers if it becomes necessary to quickly bring our people home from the International Space Station. And this Orion effort will be part of the technological foundation for advanced spacecraft to be used in future deep space missions. In fact, Orion will be readied for flight right here in this room.

Next, we will invest more than $3 billion to conduct research on an advanced “heavy lift rocket” – a vehicle to efficiently send into orbit the crew capsules, propulsion systems, and large quantities of supplies needed to reach deep space. In developing this new vehicle, we will not only look at revising or modifying older models. We will also look at new designs, new materials, and new technologies that will transform not just where we can go but what we can do when we get there. And we will finalize a rocket design no later than 2015 and then begin to build it. That’s at least two years earlier than previously planned – and that’s conservative, given that the previous program was behind schedule and over-budget.

At the same time, after decades of neglect, we will increase investment – right away – in other groundbreaking technologies that will allow astronauts to reach space sooner and more often, to travel farther and faster for less cost, and to live and work in space for longer periods of time more safely. That means tackling major scientific and technological challenges. How do we shield astronauts from radiation on longer missions? How do we harness resources on distant words? How do we supply spacecraft with the energy needed for these far-reaching journeys? These are questions we can and will answer. And these are questions whose answers will no doubt reap untold benefits right here on Earth.

Yes, pursuing this new strategy will require that we revise the old strategy. In part, this is because the old strategy – including the Constellation program – was not fulfilling its promise in many ways. That’s not just my assessment; that’s also the assessment of a panel of respected non-partisan experts charged with looking at these issues closely. Despite this, some have had harsh words for the decisions we’ve made, including individuals for whom I have enormous respect and admiration. But what I hope is that these folks will take another look, consider the details we’ve laid out, and see the merits as I’ve described them today.

Some have said, for instance, that this plan gives up on our leadership in space by failing to produce plans within NASA to reach low Earth orbit, relying instead on companies and other countries. But we will actually reach space faster and more often under this new plan, in ways that will help us improve our technological capacity and lower our costs, which are both essential for the long-term sustainability of space flight. In fact, through our plan, we’ll be sending many more astronauts to space over the next decade.

There are also those who have criticized our decision to end parts of Constellation as one that will hinder space exploration beyond low Earth orbit. But by investing in groundbreaking research and innovative companies, we have the potential to rapidly transform our capabilities – even as we build on the important work already completed, through projects like Orion, for future missions. And unlike the previous program, we are setting a course with specific and achievable milestones.

Early in the next decade, a set of crewed flights will test and prove the systems required for exploration beyond low Earth orbit. And by 2025, we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the moon into deep space. We’ll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history. By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow. Now, critical to deep space exploration will be the development of breakthrough propulsion systems and other advanced technologies. So I’m challenging NASA to break through these barriers. And I know you will – as always – with ingenuity and intensity.

I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon first, as previously planned. But the simple fact is, we have been there before. There is a lot more space to explore, and a lot more to learn when we do. I believe it is more important to ramp up our capabilities to reach – and operate at – a series of increasingly demanding targets, while advancing our technological capabilities with each step outward. That is what this strategy does. And that is how we will ensure that our leadership in space is even stronger in this new century than it was in the last.

Finally, I want to say a word about jobs. Despite some reports to the contrary, my plan will add more than 2,500 jobs along the Space Coast in the next two years compared to the plan under the previous administration. We’ll modernize the Kennedy Space Center, creating jobs as we upgrade launch facilities. And there is potential for even more job creation as companies in Florida and across America compete to be part of a new space transportation industry. This holds the promise of generating more than 10,000 jobs nationwide over the next few years. Many of these jobs will be created in Florida, an area primed to lead in this competition.

At the same time, there are Floridians who will see their work on the Shuttle end as the program winds down. And while this decision was made six years ago, and not by my administration, it is no less painful for the families and communities affected as this decision becomes reality. So I am proposing a $40 million initiative – led by a high-level team from the White House, NASA, and other agencies – to develop a plan for regional economic growth and job creation. And I expect this plan to reach my desk by August 15th. It’s an effort that will help prepare this already skilled workforce for new opportunities in the space industry and beyond.

So that is the next chapter we can write here at NASA. We will partner with industry. We will invest in cutting edge research and technology. We will set far-reaching milestones – while providing the resources to pass them. And step by step, we will push the boundaries not only of where we can go but what we can do. In short, fifty years after the creation of NASA, our goal is no longer just a destination to reach. Our goal is the capacity for people to work and learn, operate and live safely beyond the Earth for extended periods of time, ultimately in ways that are more sustainable and even indefinite. And in fulfilling this task, we will not only extend humanity’s reach in space, we will strengthen America’s leadership here on Earth.

I’ll close by saying this. I know that some Americans have asked a question that’s particularly apt on Tax Day: Why spend money on NASA at all? Why spend money solving problems in space when we do not lack for problems to solve here on the ground? Our country is still reeling from the worst economic turmoil we’ve known in generations. And we also have a massive structural deficit to close in the coming years.

But we know that this is a false choice. Yes, we need to fix our economy. Yes, we need to close our deficits. But for pennies on the dollar, the space program has fueled jobs and entire industries. For pennies on the dollar, the space program has improved our lives, advanced our society, strengthened our economy, and inspired generations of Americans. And I have no doubt that NASA can continue to fulfill this role. But that is why it is so essential that we pursue a new course and that we revitalize NASA and its mission – not just with dollars, but with clear aims, and a larger purpose.

Little more than 40 years ago, astronauts descended the nine-rung ladder of the Lunar Module called Eagle, and allowed their feet to touch the dusty surface of the Earth’s only Moon. It was the culmination of a daring and perilous gambit, of an endeavor that pushed the boundaries of our knowledge; of our technological prowess; of our very capacity as human beings to solve problems. It was not just the greatest achievement in NASA’s history. It was one of the greatest achievements in human history.

The question for us now is whether that was the beginning of something or the end of something. I choose to believe it was only the beginning.

Buzz Aldrin applauds President's plan

Buzz Aldrin made this statement on April 14.

As an Apollo astronaut, I know full well the importance of always exploring new frontiers and tackling new challenges as we explore space. The simple truth is that we have already been to the Moon – some 40 years ago. What this nation needs in order to maintain its position as the 21st century leader in space exploration is a near-term focus on lowering the cost of access to space and on developing key, cutting-edge technologies that will take us further and faster – while expanding our opportunities for exploration along the way. The President’s program will help us be in this endeavor for the long haul and will allow us to again push our boundaries to achieve new and challenging things beyond Earth. I believe that this is the right program at the right time, and I hope that NASA and our dedicated space community will embrace this new direction as much as I do. By so doing we can together continue to use space exploration to help drive prosperity and innovation right here on Earth.

I also believe the steps we will be taking in following the President’s direction will best position NASA and other space agencies to ultimately send humans to Mars and other exciting destinations as quickly as possible. To do that, we will need to support many types of transformative technologies that NASA and its partners will be developing in order to reduce the costs, expand the capabilities, and increase the options for exploration. The quick decision promised on a heavy lift architecture – one that can leverage the knowledge gained through our propulsion and flagship R&D efforts – is a key part of this new plan and one that will help us achieve these ambitions in an expeditious yet still careful way. I also believe that the decision to pursue a crew escape capsule for the Space Station (in a way that takes advantage of work already performed on Orion) is a laudable step that will both make prudent use of our hard-earned expertise and provide a U.S. capability for meeting this important safety requirement.

Finally, I continue to be excited about the development of commercial capabilities to send humans into low earth orbit and what this could ultimately mean in terms of allowing others to experience the transformative power of spaceflight. I can personally attest to what such an experience can do in creating a different perspective regarding our life on Earth and on our future. I applaud the President for his boldness and commitment in working to make this worthwhile dream a reality.

Buzz Aldrin
April 14, 2010

Space luminaries criticize Obama space plan

A distinguished list of space luminaries (list below) has released this open letter to President Obama.

Dear President Obama;

America is faced with the near-simultaneous ending of the Shuttle program and your recent budget proposal to cancel the Constellation program. This is wrong for our country for many reasons. We are very concerned about America ceding its hard earned global leadership in space technology to other nations. We are stunned that, in a time of economic crisis, this move will force as many as 30,000 irreplaceable engineers and managers out of the space industry. We see our human exploration program, one of the most inspirational tools to promote science, technology, engineering and math to our young people, being reduced to mediocrity. NASA’s human space program has inspired awe and wonder in all ages by pursuing the American tradition of exploring the unknown. We strongly urge you to drop this misguided proposal that forces NASA out of human space operations for the foreseeable future.

For those of us who have accepted the risk and dedicated a portion of our lives to the exploration of outer space, this is a terrible decision. Our experiences were made possible by the efforts of thousands who were similarly dedicated to the exploration of the last frontier. Success in this great national adventure was predicated on well defined programs, an unwavering national commitment, and an ambitious challenge. We understand there are risks involved in human space flight, but they are calculated risks for worthy goals, whose benefits greatly exceed those risks.

America’s greatness lies in her people: she will always have men and women willing to ride rockets into the heavens. America’s challenge is to match their bravery and acceptance of risk with specific plans and goals worthy of their commitment. NASA must continue at the frontiers of human space exploration in order to develop the technology and set the standards of excellence that will enable commercial space ventures to eventually succeed. Canceling NASA’s human space operations, after 50 years of unparalleled achievement, makes that objective impossible.

One of the greatest fears of any generation is not leaving things better for the young people of the next. In the area of human space flight, we are about to realize that fear; your NASA budget proposal raises more questions about our future in space than it answers.

Too many men and women have worked too hard and sacrificed too much to achieve America’s preeminence in space, only to see that effort needlessly thrown away. We urge you to demonstrate the vision and determination necessary to keep our nation at the forefront of human space exploration with ambitious goals and the proper resources to see them through. This is not the time to abandon the promise of the space frontier for a lack of will or an unwillingness to pay the price.

Sincerely, in hopes of continued American leadership in human space exploration.

Walter Cunningham
Apollo 7

Chris Kraft
Past Director JSC

Jack Lousma
Skylab 3, STS 3

Vance Brand
Apollo-Soyuz, STS-5,
STS-41B, STS-35

Bob Crippen
STS-1, STS-7,
STS-41C, STS-41G
Past Director KSC

Michael D. Griffin
Past NASA Administrator

Ed Gibson
Skylab 4

Jim Kennedy
Past Director KSC

Alan Bean
Apollo 12, Skylab 3

Alfred M. Worden
Apollo 15

Scott Carpenter
Mercury Astronaut

Glynn Lunney
Gemini-Apollo Flight Director

Jim McDivitt
Gemini 4, Apollo 9
Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager

Gene Kranz
Gemini-Apollo Flight Director
Past Director NASA Mission Ops.

Joe Kerwin
Skylab 2

Fred Haise
Apollo 13,
Shuttle Landing Tests

Gerald Carr
Skylab 4

Jim Lovell
Gemini 7, Gemini 12,
Apollo 8, Apollo 13

Jake Garn
U.S. Senator

Charlie Duke
Apollo 16

Bruce McCandless
STS-41B, STS-31

Frank Borman
Gemini 7, Apollo 8

Paul Weitz
Skylab 2, STS-6

George Mueller
Past Associate Administrator
For Manned Space Flight

Harrison Schmitt
Apollo 17,
U.S. Senator

Gene Cernan
Gemini 9, Apollo 10,
Apollo 17

Dick Gordon
Gemini 11, Apollo 12

Fact Sheet on the President's April 15th Address in Florida

From the Office of Science and Technology Policy

A Bold Approach for Space Exploration and Discovery

On Thursday, April 15, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the President will outline a bold strategy for human spaceflight that increases the NASA budget by $6 billion over the next five years. His plan represents an ambitious effort to foster the development of path-breaking technologies; increase the number, scope, and pace of manned and unmanned space missions; make human spaceflight safer and more efficient; and help create thousands of jobs. The President will lay out the goals and strategies in this new vision for NASA, including a sequence of deep-space destinations matched to growing capabilities, progressing step-by-step until we are able to reach Mars. He will provide new information about specific elements of the plan, including proceeding with a scaled-down variant of the Orion space-capsule technology developed in the Constellation program (to support crew escape requirements on the International Space Station) and setting a decision date for moving from research to development and production of a heavy-lift launch vehicle. In addition, he will speak to the new technologies, new jobs, and new industries this approach will create along the way.

This new strategy means more money for NASA, more jobs for the country, more astronaut time in space, and more investments in innovation. It will result in a longer operating lifetime for the International Space Station, new launch capabilities becoming available sooner, and a fundamentally more ambitious space strategy to take us to an increased number of destinations and to new frontiers in space. By undertaking this strategy, we will no longer rely on our past achievements, and instead embrace a new and bold course of innovation and discovery.

This new plan:

• Advances America’s commitment to human spaceflight and exploration of the solar system, with a bold new vision and timetable for reaching new frontiers deeper in space.

• Increases NASA’s budget by $6 billion over 5 years.

• Leads to more than 2,500 additional jobs in Florida’s Kennedy Space Center area by 2012, as compared to the prior path.

• Begins major work on building a new heavy lift rocket sooner, with a commitment to decide in 2015 on the specific heavy-lift rocket that will take us deeper into space.

• Initiates a vigorous new technology development and test program to increase the capabilities and reduce the cost of future exploration activities.

• Launches a steady stream of precursor robotic exploration missions to scout locations and demonstrate technologies to increase the safety and capability of future human missions, while also providing scientific dividends.

• Restructures Constellation and directs NASA to develop the Orion crew capsule effort in order to provide stand-by emergency escape capabilities for the Space Station – thereby reducing our reliance on foreign providers.

• Establishes the technological foundation for future crew spacecraft needed for missions beyond low Earth orbit.

• Increases the number of astronaut days in space by 3,500 over the next decade, extends the life of the International Space Station, likely beyond 2020, and enables the launching of astronauts on new vehicles from the Kennedy Space Center 1- 2 years sooner.

• Jumpstarts a new commercial space transportation industry to provide safe and efficient crew and cargo transportation to the Space Station, projected to create over 10,000 jobs nationally over the next five years.

• Invests in Florida, adding $3 billion more for the Kennedy Space Center to manage – a 60 percent increase.

• Makes strategic investments to develop critical knowledge, technologies, and capabilities to expand long-duration human exploration into deep space in a more efficient and safe manner, thus getting us to more destinations in deep space sooner.

• And puts the space program on a more ambitious trajectory that pushes the frontiers of innovation to propel us on a new journey of innovation and discovery deeper into space.

Specific New Elements of the President’s Plan:

Outlining A Bold New Vision for Reaching New Frontiers in Space: Building on the announcement of a new heavy-lift rocket decision date and the restructuring of Orion, the President will outline a broad vision and timetable for unlocking our ambitions and expanding our frontiers in space, until ultimately we can meet the challenge of sending humans to Mars.

The President’s vision for NASA space exploration enables:

• a set of stepping-stone achievements in space that will take us further and faster into space, allowing us to reach a range of destinations including lunar orbit, Lagrange points, near-Earth asteroids, and the moons of Mars, and eventually Mars itself. This sequence of missions will begin with a set of crewed flights to prove the capabilities required for exploration beyond low Earth orbit. After these initial missions, our long-duration human spaceflight technologies will enable human explorers to conduct the first-ever crewed mission into deep space to an asteroid, thereby achieving an historical first; venture into deep space locations such as the Lagrange points (potential sites of fuel depots that would enable more capable future missions to the Moon, Mars, and other destinations); and then send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth.

• increasing investments in ground-breaking technologies that will allow astronauts to reach space faster and more often, to travel further distances for less cost, and to stay in space for longer periods of time

• systematically tackling the hard problems of space exploration – from protecting our astronauts from radiation to developing advanced in-space propulsion — so that we can push the boundaries not only of where we can go in space but also what we can do there to improve our lives here on Earth

Developing a Heavy Lift Rocket, with a Specific Decision in 2015, to Expand Our Reach in Space: To demonstrate a concrete timetable and commitment for expanding human exploration further, the President is announcing that, in addition to investing in transformative heavy-lift technologies, he will commit to making a specific decision in 2015 on the development of a new heavy-lift rocket architecture. This new rocket would eventually lift future deep-space spacecraft to enable humans to expand our reach toward Mars and the rest of the Solar System. This new rocket would take advantage of the new technology investments proposed in the budget – primarily a $3.1 billion investment over five years on heavy-lift R&D. This propulsion R&D effort will include development of a U.S. first-stage hydrocarbon engine for potential use in future heavy lift (and other) launch systems, as well as basic research in areas such as new propellants, advanced propulsion materials manufacturing techniques, combustion processes, and engine health monitoring, all of which are expected to shorten the development time for any future heavy-lift rocket. The new rocket also will benefit from the budget’s proposed R&D on other breakthrough technologies in our new strategy for human exploration (such as in-space refueling), which should make possible a more cost-effective and optimized heavy lift capability as part of future exploration architectures. A decision in 2015 means that major work on building a new heavy lift rocket will likely begin two years sooner than under the troubled Constellation program.

Restructuring the Orion Crew Capsule: Our goal is to take advantage of the best work undertaken in the Constellation program. The President is announcing that NASA will restructure the Orion crew exploration vehicle program to a simpler and more efficient design that will be focused on crew emergency escape from the International Space Station. Under the Constellation program, the Orion crew capsule was intended to house astronauts during their travel to the International Space Station and later missions to the Moon. It also was to be capable of docking at the Space Station for six months and returning crews to the Earth. As part of the President’s new plan for NASA, the development work already performed on this capability will be re-oriented to meet the important safety requirement of providing stand-by emergency escape capabilities for astronauts on the space Station. We will be able to launch this vehicle within the next few years, creating an American crew escape capability that will increase the safety of our crews on the Space Station, reduce our dependence on foreign providers, and simplify requirements for other commercial crew providers. This effort will also help establish a technological foundation for future exploration spacecraft needed for human missions beyond low Earth orbit and will preserve some critical high-tech contractor jobs in Colorado, Texas, and Florida.

Florida’s Space Workers and the New Approach to Human Spaceflight

The Administration is committed to a bold, new approach to human spaceflight, and is increasing the NASA budget by $6 billion over the next five years in order to embark on this ambitious strategy that will foster the development of path-breaking technologies, increase the reach and reduce the cost of human spaceflight, and help create thousands of new jobs. Along with the already planned end of the Shuttle program, this transformation will have an impact on the critical space industry in Florida.

Building on its significant new investments to help Florida retain its important role in NASA’s human space programs, the Administration today is taking additional steps to help Florida’s Space Coast adjust and succeed in the years ahead. Most importantly, the Administration is launching a $40 million, multi-agency initiative to help the Space Coast transform its economy and prepare its workers for the opportunities of tomorrow. This effort will build on and complement ongoing economic and workforce development efforts by convening a task force comprised of senior-level Administration officials to construct an economic development action plan for the President’s review within 120 days. In addition to this assistance, the Administration will work to jumpstart the commercial space industry at Kennedy Space Center; dedicate more than $2 billion in funds to modernize Kennedy Space Center’s facilities; and restructure the Orion crew exploration vehicle program to a more efficient design for a crew emergency escape capsule.

Compared to the prior path we were on, the President’s new plan for human spaceflight is expected to generate more than 2,500 additional jobs in the Kennedy Space Center area by 2012.


The men and women who work in the Space Coast’s aerospace industry are some of the most talented and highly trained in the nation. It’s critical that their skills are tapped as we transform and grow the country’s space exploration efforts. The 2004 decision to end the Shuttle means that approximately 6,000 jobs need to be transitioned into the new space strategy and related industries. To ease the transition for workers dislocated while the new space strategy is being implemented, the President is proposing to dedicate $40 million of the funds requested for the Constellation transition to transform the regional economy and prepare its workforce for these new opportunities.

The President will select a high-level team of senior officials from the Departments of Defense, Commerce, and Labor; NASA; and the White House to develop a plan for regional economic growth and retraining dislocated workers to seize new work opportunities. The team will report its recommendations to the President by August 15.

This interagency group’s recommendations will build on the Administration’s on-going efforts in the region. The Department of Labor is already planning a pilot program to better assist the region’s workers, including those highly-skilled workers who work in the aerospace industry, through efforts to establish one-stop local transition centers for affected workers where they can receive coordinated local, state, and federal workforce assistance tied to economic development efforts; and the designation of a one-stop-shop federal point-of-contact for affected areas.

To further facilitate these efforts, the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is prepared to support a comprehensive economic adjustment strategy for the Kennedy Space Center economic region. With funding provided through NASA, the EDA will provide both financial and technical assistance to start implementing those plans and promote economic development in the region through such activities as infrastructure upgrades and improvements, entrepreneurial networks, and skill-training facilities and equipment. The exact mix of activities will depend on the recommendations and request of local entities across the region.

Working with local and state partners, the EDA also will analyze whether other proven assistance efforts can be implemented in the area, including: additional economic development resources such as enhanced capital funding to support efforts to start new technology ventures based on the specific skills of dislocated engineers; technical assistance to guide public officials, management, and labor through a local economic adjustment effort; and Federal Team Visits to further support local adjustment efforts.


In order to expand our potential in space, the President is committed to increasing the NASA budget in FY 2011 and each of the next five years. This will mean more people working in the aerospace industry to support NASA programs and missions. In order to harness Florida’s unique and talented workforce, the Kennedy Space Center has been selected to manage several of the new programs in the President’s FY 2011 budget request. All told, the President’s new plan is expected to generate more than 2,500 additional jobs in the Kennedy Space Center area by 2012, as compared to the prior path.

Highlights include:

• Jumpstarting a new industry and thousands of new jobs. A new Commercial Crew Development Program Office at the Kennedy Space Center will manage $500 million in FY 2011 and $5.8 billion over five years to foster private-sector transportation services to Earth orbit. An independent analysis found that the new Commercial Crew and cargo investments are projected to create an average of 11,800 jobs per year nationally, many of which will be based in Florida.

• Modernizing Kennedy Space Center so it remains a world-class launch port for decades to come. A new 21st Century Launch Complex Program Office at the Kennedy Space Center will manage $429 million in FY 2011 and $1.9 billion over five years to modernize the Kennedy Space Center’s facilities to reduce launch costs not only for NASA, but for other users. These investments will create hundreds of jobs by 2012, upgrade Kennedy Space Center’s facilities for the 21st century, and ensure that the Kennedy Space Center will remain a world-class launch port for decades to come, attracting new commercial business in addition to reliably and efficiently supporting government flights.

• Helping make the I-4 corridor the Silicon Valley of space. A new Flagship Technology Demonstrations Deputy Program Office will help manage, along with the Johnson Space Center’s Program Office, $424 million in FY 2011 and $6 billion over five years to demonstrate transformational technologies for next-generation space flight capabilities.