Obama sets plan for changes at NASA

Astronaut Steve Swanson on mission at the International Space Station

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: President Obama will be in Florida on Thursday for a space "summit," and NASA's administrator is in Colorado Springs today speaking at the National Space Symposium. Marketplace's Jill Barshay says there are big changes coming in how we get to and from outer space.


Jill Barshay: The U.S. government doesn't want to own rockets any more; it only wants to ride on them.

James Bennett the president of Mach Plus Technologies, an aerospace company. He says NASA will continue to explore the frontiers of space, but Obama wants to commercialize the flights close to Earth.

James Bennett: Now basically you're telling the companies to operate the same way an airline does. In other words, instead of buying a rocket, the government buys a ticket. So it's a big paradigm shift in the way we're doing space.

Space tourists could buy tickets, too.

John Logsdon is a professor emeritus of the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University. He says Obama also wants to pull the plug on NASA's program to send humans back to the moon -- and Mars.

John Logsdon: There are some losers in this. I mean the people involved in the current program called Constellation don't like the fact that it's being proposed for cancellation.

The cut would mean big job losses in Florida. That's where Obama will detail his new space plan Thursday.

I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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