Nasa 's The Manned Space Flight Program

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With the news that the Obama administration decided to abandon NASA’s plans to send a man back to the moon by 2020, the manned space flight program is quickly reaching extinction. It marks a sharp contrast with the Apollo space program that at its peak captured the American imagination. David L. Chandler reports of that time, “With goose bumps and white knuckles, people followed the crackly radio reports of that first lunar footfall, and they lionized its heroes with tickertape parades” (Chandler, 1). Now, there is none of that level of interest in the space program. In a short span of time, space travel became just an afterthought. “Public interest in human space travel, it now seems, has followed a trajectory something like that of a…show more content…
Writer John Derbyshire notes, “None of the most useful off-planet projects – G.P.S., earth imaging, antimissile technology – has any requirement for human beings in space” (Derbyshire, 1). Not only can machinery do what we need to get done, they also do it at a cheaper cost. “Anything a human being does up there could be done by unmanned machinery for one-thousandth the cost. With the ever-increasing intelligence of our machines, the cost gap will only get wider” (Derbyshire, 1). The costs are a big reason for why there is much hesitation for manned space travel. “No president since John Kennedy has been willing or able to project the necessary vision of a human future in space, or willing to expend the political capital to make future human exploration of the planets a reality – or even a real but distant plan” (Chandler, 3). It is the lack of vision along with the stated reasons that resulted in the harsh reality that space programs face today. Part of this decline was the loss of prestige and importance the space program once held. John F. Kennedy’s words supporting the Apollo program spoke of this prestige, “No nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space” (John M. Logsdon, 1). One of the reasons Apollo had so much interest was the national fervor it generated. The space race between America and the former Soviet Union had so much pride at stake that only success would do. “The
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