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The Future Of Spaceflight

Steve Scher
04/20/2010 at 9:00 a.m.

President Obama is making changes at NASA. He's scrapping the Constellation program that planned to bring astronauts back to the Moon. He's putting private companies like Boeing in charge of space transport — which means they'll ferry astronauts to the Space Station. President Obama wants NASA to focus on developing satellites and space probes to explore the outer edges of the solar system. Is America giving up on the international competition to explore space? Or will Obama's plan stimulate a lucrative new aerospace boom? We talk to a former astronaut, and other space industry experts.


Marco Caceres is the senior analyst and director of space studies at the Teal Group, an aerospace and defense industry consulting firm. Caceres has studied the 'space market' for clients including ATK, Boeing, EADS, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and NASA.

Don Brownlee is a professor of astronomy at the University of Washington, and is principle investigator of NASA's Stardust comet sample return mission. He has recently co–authored "Rare Earth" with University of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward on the Earth's evolution to become a habitat for advanced life.

Keith Cowing is editor of the NASA Watch blog, "devoted to the free and uncensored exchange of information on space policy and NASA operations." He's been featured as a commentator on media outlets including ABC, FOX, CNN and NPR. He was trained as a biologist and worked for NASA from 1990–1993 as manager of pressurized payload accommodations at the Space Station Freedom Program Office.

Toby Smith is senior lecturer at the University of Washington Astronomy Department, and an associate editor for the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Andy Pasztor is an aviation reporter for the Wall Street Journal.

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