In essence, Daddy O. just took away NASA's wheels. Beginning with the last space shuttle launch, NASA astronauts are going to be hitchhiking to space with Russians or private sector companies. I know Burt Rutan is going to be happy about this, but what does that do for astronaut's careers you have to wonder - especially the pilots. Are NASA's finest going to be answering questions like "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" in a string of corporate human resource director's offices?
Seems a little sad to me. There is, however, the slight chance that Obama has done the right thing with NASA- turning space exploration over to the private sector albeit for the wrong reasons. What troubles me though, is this. How long will it take him to realize that a heavily loaded rocket, properly pointed from space can cause a whole lot of hurt if someone decides to drop it on someone's town or house for that matter.
If he does let the private sector go to space, will space flight be one of those things rich people do and so be taxed to oblivion like the yachting industry has been? It just seems that Obama and the private sector are unlikely to be a successful partnership - as unlikely as GM & Obama or AIG & Obama or Bank of America & Obama or Health Care & Obama.
What do you think the chances are that Obama will actually resist the temptation to regulate the fledgling private sector space industry into oblivion?
Probably not very good!
* In case you are wondering, the cartoon is Photoshopped from another cartoon by Dana Summers of the Orlando Sentinel. I can't draw an astronaut worth a flip, so I borrowed his. You can see the original editorial cartoon which is pretty funny all by itself at: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/opinion/