The Associated Press is reporting that White House officials have good news and bad for NASA in the upcoming budget: Good news, they're getting a $6 billion budget increase; bad, they ain't going to the moon.
Some of that [$6 billion] will be used to extend the life of the International Space Station to 2020. The official said it also will be used to entice companies to build private spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the space station after the space shuttle retires.
An aide to an elected official who was told of the plans said Obama is basically ending the return-to-the-moon effort pushed by President George W. Bush. So far, that effort has cost $9.1 billion.
An Alabama paper's report on the briefing says the administration's emphasis will be on commercial flight.
It said the budget will propose:
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-- Extending the life of the space station until 2020 and possibly beyond
-- Making commercial rockets -- what have been called "space taxis" -- the main mode of transporting astronauts to and from the station
-- Flying the remaining five planned shuttle flights, extending them into 2011 if necessary.
-- Helping create a new commercial spaceflight industry that could lead to as many as 1,700 new jobs in Florida and 5,000 overall
-- Investing in Kennedy Space Center creating hundreds of new jobs and upgrading the facility to make the facility a launch port for commercial and government flights.
"Space taxis"? Our flying cars can't be far behind!!
Oh, and you can pretty much forget about manned missions to Mars for the foreseeable future. In case you were wondering.