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Spacefaring (2): Paths to Realization

21 Aug 2009, 23:36 UTC
Spacefaring (2): Paths to Realization
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"Habot (habitat + robot)" Source: SpaceRef

I didn't envision addressing “spacefaring” again so soon, but events keep driving the issue of “human settlement in space” to front and center since it is the rationale for much of human spaceflight. That, of course, is the focus of the current "Augustine Committee" with a mandate to assess options for the future of human space exploration. They will soon report their formal recommendations to NASA that apparently project a significant delay in human exploration beyond LEO, due primarily to budget limitations. If implemented, that would impact NASA, its contractors, and the entrepreneurial commercial space sector in many ways that are already being discussed. The need for these three sectors to collaborate is increasing in parallel with the likelihood of expanded competition all around. Things may get a bit dicey soon but the NASA committment to increased involvement by entrepreneurial space entities must not falter, now that it is well underway.
But it was John Hickman’s recent Space Review article on “Coping with the Closing: Disempowerment in the Post-Apollo Narratives About the Space Frontier” that convinced me to continue this story. Hickman reminded me of how differently I think about human exploration and ...

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