Among the most highly anticipated programs to be rolled out yesterday with President Obama’s FY2011 Budget was NASA’s Bold New Approach for Space Exploration and Discovery. OSTP Director John P. Holdren and NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden described the plan in some detail today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The United States has for decades maintained its status as the global leader in human space flight, as evidenced by the successes of the Apollo Moon missions, the Space Shuttle program, and America’s leading role in the International Space Station. Throughout this period NASA has acted as an engine of growth and innovation for the Nation and the new direction unveiled yesterday builds upon that legacy while offering bold new challenges for the space community’s highly skilled workforce. Additionally, the new initiative will engage the Nation’s imagineers and engineers to develop new and exciting technologies that, in the last decade, did not have access to the resources they needed to flourish. As Dr. Holdren put it yesterday during the R&D Budget rollout at the headquarters of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, “We’re putting the science back in rocket science.”
NASA and OSTP are excited about the launch of this new era of innovation and discovery. The Administration’s proposal to boost NASA’s budget by $6 billion over the next five years, including large increases in technology research and development, shows the President’s commitment to restoring funding to critically underfunded elements of NASA’s portfolio. Aeronautics, Earth observation, robotic space exploration, science, and education will all benefit from this new direction. Also, the extension of the International Space Station through at least 2020 will allow the United States and our partners to more fully harness the unique capabilities and potential of that the large, orbiting laboratory.
Dr. Holdren spoke about NASA’s new initiative today before introducing Gen. Bolden, who went into greater detail about the program and introduced the chiefs of seven commercial space companies that will help pioneer this new and exciting path for human space exploration.