Mourning Constellation and the Dreams that went with it

(Originally posted on February 2, 2010 on the Space Tweep Society Blog.)

This blog post and associated comments has one purpose only and that is to mourn the loss of the Constellation Program and the dreams we had for returning to the moon.  The program (outside of budget realities) gave us a chance once not only to dream but to work on leaving LEO and heading to another body in our solar system with the stated of goal of learning to live off-planet including learning how to protect the human body in space for long durations.

Please share with us as we take this time to mourn the loss of a program and our associated dreams.  Examples include:

1) Share your personal dreams of what Constellation and Exploration meant to you.

2) Share how the cancellation personally affects you.

I stated the other day that sometimes dreams need course corrections.  In order to correct we need to revector those dreams.  First step is to mourn the current dreams and their associated time table.

I ask that you not bash Constellation or the President’s FY2011 budget in your comments.  This is purely a place to say good-bye.  To put our dreams down on paper.  To take a moment of silence.  Future blog posts will cover everything else there is to cover.

*Comments have been ported over.

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4 responses to “Mourning Constellation and the Dreams that went with it

  1. It’s no secret I work on the Constellation program at JSC so I am financially and emotionally invested in the Constellation program. But, what the loss of Constellation means to me today (without knowing the full extent of what the new vision means) is a loss of my childhood dreams being reached during the highlight of my career and to be a part of that amazing opportunity. So today I say good-bye to Constellation – you were a great vision/program with amazing people to work with but you were underfunded because the NASA community and Congress didn’t 100% buy into you.

    Constellation RIP

    @txflygirl

  2. Over forty years ago, I bid farewell to my career as a hypergolic propellant chemist at PSCL, Pad 39 as Apollo neared it’s end.

    Though I had offers in later years to return to the Cape, I knew that space was for dreamers and not for pragmatists, or at least not for those of us who had mouths to feed and mortgages to service.

    As long as there were politicians holding the “power of the purse” over the heads of the visionaries, there could be no coherent manned spaceflight program. The challenges of going to Mars, or even back to the moon required multi-year funding, and this was a concept as foreign to a politician as foregoing his pork!

    Perhaps, their are still dreamers who will return us to the moon and later, beyond. Men like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and yes, even Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan who are not subject to the whims of the politicians whose first and foremost goal in life is being reelected.

    I think of the not so (Hon) Richard Shelby who was so “for” commercialization of space until he was so “against” it when the specter of losing his place at the trough loomed large.

    I had hoped, back in the day, when I too, was a visionary to see us permanently on the moon and perhaps even to Mars.

    Alas, not to be, at least in my lifetime…

    @fizzviic

  3. If you recall in civics class, we should have all learned that Congress has the power of the purse. Congress legislates (sets policy) and the Executive branch executes.

    In the meantime, I would like to focus on the positive. With $19B, Obama did request for NASA a topline increase over the last Bush Budget for F 2011 ($18.460 B). This higher level makes things easier for Congress to fund the programs they deem important.

    Where is Congress headed with this budget request:

    Authorizors (people who make policy):

    Gordon’s Statement: http://sciencedems.house.gov/press/PRArticle.aspx?NewsID=2727

    Hall’s Statement: http://gop.science.house.gov/Pressroom/Item.aspx?ID=219

    Nelson: http://washingtontimes.com/weblogs/watercooler/2010/feb/02/sen-bill-nelson-ill-hold-white-house-feet-fire-nas/?feat=home_blogs

    Appropriators (people who decide how much NASA gets to spend):

    Sen. Mikulski: “I am concerned by any abrupt or disruptive changes to the human spaceflight program,” Mikulski said in a statement that stopped short of endorsing or opposing Obama’s plan http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation-world/bal-te.budget02feb02,0,7684040.story

    Sen. Shelby: http://shelby.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.NewsReleases&ContentRecord_id=8a4b0876-802a-23ad-43f9-b1a7757ad978

    @comtnclimr

  4. Constellation to me meant continuing advances in the technology of space flight. I’ve always been interested in how things work and how to fix them. So now without Constellation I no longer have a dream of understanding a rocket built on the success of the STS programs’ SRB’s blended with advances like the J-2X (based on the Saturn V J-2 engine). For me as a kid, before the internet, space news meant magazines, newspapers and Walter Cronkite. These days much more of the “how it works and how it’s fixed” information is available. Seems like the privatization of space will keep some of that secret. I am hopeful NASA will keep the door open to regular folks like me to see how the new satellites and robotic explorers work. If the interesting science of space flight and exploration goes away, the media really has near zero interest to me. Kind of hard to nurture a dream when astronauts can’t even get off the ground.

    @markratterman