Tomorrow’s Washington Post has a story on the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer and how it’s unlikely to fly, given Shuttle end-of-life in 2010 to provide funds for development of NASA’s next-generation rockets.
Now, I think that this goes without saying anytime I talk about manned spaceflight, but … my opinions are my own and should not reflect upon those of my employer. And I also think that it goes without saying that, as someone who works in manned spaceflight, I have a vested interest in seeing it go forward. But I think Shuttle End-of-Life is a mistake. I’m afraid that it’s gone on too long to reverse it without significant cost to the taxpayer, but personally, I’m hopefully that whoever becomes President on 20 Jan 2009 quickly reverses the decision. If we’re a nation that throws $50B/mo at Iraq, we can throw $5B/yr at one of the few international initiatives that provides a positive national image for us. With the crumbling of the Soviet Union, we’re the only nation that can pull this off, and I earnestly believe that someone should.
We know so much more about our planet today from our study of it from orbit and our study of the heavens; to build AMS and then let it collect dust at a warehouse at Kennedy Space Center is an absolute travesty.