NASA Chief Technologist, Robert Braun, admitted in a interview with Physorg.com that it would be at least 10 years before NASA can develop and fly humans on a new ship. (Special hat tip to NASAEngineer.com for bringing this story to the forefront.)
“But with spending squeezed and NASA at odds with lawmakers over a 2016 timeframe for building a new heavy-lift rocket and crew vehicle to replace the 30-year-old shuttle program, Braun said that developing the future mode of travel could take longer than Congress, or the US public, may want to hear.
“Let’s call it — think about it as a decade if you want to put a time stamp to it,” said Braun, who gathered along with a host of veteran astronauts, politicians and space enthusiasts at Kennedy Space Center on Thursday to witness the final blastoff for the Discovery space shuttle.”
Finally, someone there told the truth. I have been arguing for quite some time on this blog and in various interviews that when the last Space Shuttle flew, it would be at least 10 years before you would see an American astronaut fly on an American ship.
Mr. Braun does say later on (to cover his backside?) that during that ten year period, commercial space (SpaceX) would be transporting humans back and forth from the ISS, but SpaceX has admitted in their update dated January 17th, 2010, “The Dragon spacecraft is scheduled to fly at least 11 more times and the Falcon 9 launch vehicle is scheduled to fly 17 times before the first Dragon crew flight.” Since SpaceX averages about 2 flights per year as they learn how to launch and fly rockets, that would mean it would take at least 8 more years before they fly an American astronaut. That’s without any problems cropping up and that’s with 6 years already invested in their program. Constellation, the real HSF that was killed by Mr. Obama, Senator Bill Nelson, Congresswoman Kosmas (fired by KSC workers November 2010 election) on April 15th 2010, would have flown an American astronaut by 2015 at the earliest.
It’s nice to know that at least someone in a senior position at NASA will tell the truth, even if it’s by accident. Shame he probably won’t get to keep his position at NASA for long for doing so.