Here is a summary of a speech given by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the 1st of July 2011 at the National Press Club, entitled “What’s Next for NASA”. Here is a link to the video and here is an 8-page transcript of the speech in PDF.
The end of the space shuttle program does not mean the end of NASA, or even of NASA sending humans into space. NASA has a robust program of exploration, technology development and scientific research that will last for years to come. Here is what’s next for NASA:
3. Aeronautics: more efficient aircraft, flight controls, air traffic controls, etc.
4. Science: more satellites
So, boys and girls, NASA has a plan, as you can see, that is…yawwwwnnn…very…ex…exc…excite…ing.
Is it just me or does Mr. Bolden in the video look like he is making up excuses?
Oh, then there is this. “NASA to work with Colorado company on launch rocket”
NASA and the United Launch Alliance announced a formal agreement on Monday to look at using the giant Atlas V rocket to send astronauts into space as a commercial venture. The U.S. government officially ended its role in directly sending astronauts into orbit earlier this month with the final launch of a space shuttle. It is scheduled to land Thursday. NASA will contract out launches from now on – for the next few years, to the Russians, but later to U.S. commercial companies.
The United Launch Alliance hopes that its Atlas V rockets will carry the new launch vehicles, the cone-shaped capsules known as multipurpose crew vehicles or MPCVs — unofficially, Orion — made by Lockheed Martin.
NASA already uses Atlas Vs for some of its highest-profile projects, including the upcoming Juno mission to Jupiter, scheduled to launch August 5. The end of the shuttle program has cost thousands of jobs. Contractors to the Kennedy Space Center on the coast of central Florida have announced 7,000 layoffs this year. ULA employs 1,700 people in Centennial, Colorado.