Can or does anyone actually remember the greatness that was the United States when it came to space exploration? Has anyone asked why this greatness has seemed to be failing under Barack Obama? Is it Obama that has caused our Space program to nearly collapse? Where have we as a nation failed in the space programs that used to send our own men and women into space? Why does the United States have to rely upon other nations to send our astronauts into space? Was it not the United States that had the tools to send our own people into space? Now all we have to do is to remember that all this has happened since Obama took the office of President and he gave the "apology" tour to the Muslim world. What once was the most powerful nation in the world has appeared to fall into the ranks of smaller nations that cannot send their own astronauts into space. Is it any wonder that President Putin of Russia laughs at Obama?

We can go into the way back machine and see what our nation has done in space and just how much we have fallen behind in space exploration and sending our own astronauts into space. In 2008 when the news about the "new" Ares Rocket broke, it was shown that our nation was moving ahead with this great rocket. The revealing article from NASA indicated that this rocket will send our men and women back into space in 2015. But we have to remember that this was back in 2008 and it was in 2009 that "changes" were made that stifled the US Space program under the Barack Obama. To understand what we mean here, all we have to do is read the following article to see what was expected before Obama took office.

"NASA has completed the preliminary design review for the first stage of the Ares I rocket -- giving overall approval for the agency's technical design approach. This review brings NASA one-step closer to developing a new mode of space transportation for astronauts to explore the moon, Mars and beyond.

"We have been working a very aggressive plan for over two years and making great progress on detailed designs," said Steve Cook manager of Ares Projects at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. "Completing the preliminary design review of the first stage element is a critical step for development of the Ares I rocket."

Starting in 2015, the Ares I rocket will carry the Orion crew vehicle and its crew of four to six astronauts, and small cargo payloads, to the International Space Station. The first stage element will power the first two minutes of launch for the Ares I vehicle.

This just-completed preliminary design review, which was conducted at Marshall, looked at the current designs for the first stage to ensure that the planned technical approach will meet NASA's requirements for the vehicle.

This review was part of a series of milestones that will occur before the actual flight hardware is built. Each major review provides more detailed requirements for the vehicle design to ensure the overall system can meet all NASA requirements for safe and reliable flight. The review process also identifies technical and management challenges and addresses ways to reduce potential risks as the project goes forward.

"Our government and industry team is to be congratulated on meeting this important milestone for the integrated, five-segment first stage," said Alex Priskos, manager of the first stage. "We have tackled many challenges and look forward to our first development motor firing next spring which will prepare us for our next step -- the critical design review."

The Ares I preliminary design review process began in May with the first stage and continues this month with the upper stage review. The Ares I integrated vehicle preliminary design review this summer will serve as the major checkpoint for the entire Ares I vehicle. Kickoff is scheduled for late July and the review runs through September. Next year the Ares Projects will move forward to the critical design review, beginning in November with the J-2X engine. The J-2X engine will power the Ares I upper stage to orbit after separation from the first stage.

With a length of approximately 173 feet, the Ares I first stage is derived from the solid rocket boosters used on the space shuttle. The primary difference between the shuttle booster and the Ares booster is the addition of the fifth booster segment which will give the launch vehicle greater thrust, or power, to lift the entire launch and crew vehicle stack, or about 2 million pounds, to Earth orbit.

This summer, engineers will begin casting a fully functional development motor for the first five-segment test in April 2009 at ATK's facility in Promontory, Utah. The static firing of the fully-developed five-segment booster will provide valuable data including thrust, maximum internal operating pressure, acoustics and vibration data. Currently there are five ground tests scheduled for the five-segment booster.

The Constellation Program, located at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, has overall responsibility for development of the human space transportation system to accomplish NASA exploration missions to extend a human presence throughout the solar system. Johnson also is responsible for development of the Orion spacecraft and mission operations.

The Ares Projects at Marshall are responsible for design and development of the Ares I rocket and Ares V cargo launch vehicle.

NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for ground and launch operations. The program also includes multiple project element teams at NASA centers and contract organizations around the nation."

With this in mind, the next major accomplishment of NASA under Obama came with an announcement that we now must use rockets and resources from other nations just to get projects off the ground. In the following brief article it is shown that we have to go to the nation of India to send instruments to the moon. The United States now has to use other nation's rockets and resources to send instruments to the moon? This after our nation was the only nation to ever send a man to the moon? What has happened to our nation, the once Great United States?

"NASA has partnered with India to fly two science instruments aboard the country's first lunar explorer, Chandrayaan-1. The Indian Space Research Organization launched Chandrayaan-1 on Oct. 22 from Sriharikota, India. It entered lunar orbit on Nov. 8. NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper is surveying mineral resources of the moon, and the Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar is mapping the moon's polar regions and looking for ice deposits in the permanently shadowed craters. Data from the two instruments is contributing to NASA's increased understanding of the lunar environment as the agency implements the nation's space exploration policy, which calls for robotic and human missions to the moon."

This, combined with the end of the Space Shuttle program on July 21, 2011, just seemed to end the United States greatness in Space Exploration and since this time the US has made some very good scientific findings via space programs. However, the very idea that the US has had to "shuttle" our own people to the International Space station in Russian Space craft makes one wonder just why it happened? NASA came out with a brief article about the end of the Space Shuttle program and it did not expand on the future of what NASA will do to place people of the United States into space on our own rockets.

"NASA's space shuttle fleet began setting records with its first launch on April 12, 1981 and continued to set high marks of achievement and endurance through 30 years of missions. Starting with Columbia and continuing with Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour, the spacecraft has carried people into orbit repeatedly, launched, recovered and repaired satellites, conducted cutting-edge research and built the largest structure in space, the International Space Station. The final space shuttle mission, STS-135, ended July 21, 2011 when Atlantis rolled to a stop at its home port, NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

As humanity's first reusable spacecraft, the space shuttle pushed the bounds of discovery ever farther, requiring not only advanced technologies but the tremendous effort of a vast workforce. Thousands of civil servants and contractors throughout NASA's field centers and across the nation have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to mission success and the greater goal of space exploration."

NASA went on to state:

"After 30 years of spaceflight, 135 missions and numerous science and technology firsts, NASA's space shuttle fleet will retire and be on display at institutions across the country to inspire the next generation of explorers and engineers.

On April 12, 2011, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced the facilities where four shuttle orbiters will be displayed permanently at the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program."

The US is now taking a back seat in space exploration in the terms of sending astronauts into space. Not to worry though, our space program will or may continue sometime in the future. Those of us whom remember the Space Shuttle, the moon landings and all the greatness of the United States space program may well be dead and gone if and when the United States ever makes it back into space without the help of other nations.

The head of NASA gave a statement back on July 1, 2011 and since then our astronauts have had to catch rides on Russian spacecraft to go to and from the International Space Station, is it any wonder that Russia laughs at Obama?

"As a former astronaut and the current NASA Administrator, I'm here to tell you that American leadership in space will continue for at least the next half-century because we have laid the foundation for success - and failure is not an option."

Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
National Press Club, July 1, 2011

Yet as of July 2013, the United States still seems to be achieving space from behind. Well this now seems to be the normal of the US; leading from behind. Why should we expect to lead from in front on the space program? Has the United States really fallen this far behind the world in just the first 5 years of an Obama presidency? It looks like this may be the truth since little if anything has happened since Obama took office. The United States is just not the world leader anymore in space travel. This seems par for the course from Barack Obama who doesn't know how to lead, but only how to follow.

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