NASA chief Charles Bolden said America will continue to lead the way in space exploration at the National Press Club recently. Bolden has laid out a strategy to relinquish low earth orbit missions to private companies and focus the agency on deep space exploration, directing NASA to focus on sending a human to Mars. This was done at the administrative guidance of President Obama who pushed for the change.
NASA says that with major resources freed up from low earth orbit missions such as space shuttle missions and satellite launches, it can make more progress on its long-range mission of going to Mars and beyond.
It intends to have the private sector handle low earth orbit missions and the Air Force will continue to launch its satellite into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The re-organization comes with the new goals and budget cuts to NASA by the president.
Competing private companies have used new technologies to make successful low earth orbit flights with humans and rockets that can launch into space carrying a payload. While it was hoped that the Kennedy Space Center would see much of the launch activities of the new private companies, apparent disputes with government contracts seem to erase those hopes, with the companies launching from New Mexico’s Space Port USA instead.