What will Obama say when he visits KSC on April 15th? That is the question that almost all of the spaceflight community is currently asking itself. Will he stand arrogantly by his budget to kill NASA's human spaceflight program, ignoring the outcry of the American people who oppose it- just as he did his health care takeover? Will he channel JFK and send our nation off on a bold new adventure to a specific place by a specific time? Will he do a verbal tap dance all around the subject while avoiding any commitments and then hop back on his 747 and blow back to the safe and friendly confines of the Washington beltway? Will he talk in billowing terms about vague but exciting sounding projects while actually offering only a few additional crumbs to NASA? Will he promise everything and then turn around and do nothing? What is going to happen? What will Obama do? Indeed, these are the questions.
Put all of the talk of which vehicle, what system, when and where, that is being debated in the spaceflight world aside, you will find my point of view about the whole matter. That is- why the hell should American citizens even have to wonder what is next for NASA or will NASA even exist after this president gets done with it? It is an absolute disgrace that we should be left in doubt at all. NASA is the cornerstone of our leadership in technology and innovation and the fact that it very existence under any sort of threat at all by any president is a national outrage.
So... what do I think Obama will say and do when he "visits" KSC for his space "summit" on April 15th? First off, he will surround himself with bootlickers who will fill the seats, then he will talk in billowing circles for 98% of the summit's allotted time allowing everyone else just enough time to sound-bite agree with whatever he says, he will then stand stubbornly by his toxic NASA budget and toss a crumb or two (such as a single shuttle flight extension) toward NASA and Senator Nelson before he tours the Space-X facilities and then he will smugly hop on Air Force One and fly away still in the firmly held belief that he can never be wrong and nothing that the United States does can ever be right.
This time, he will not win the Congress, however. There is widespread condemnation over his budget in both houses of Congress and among both Republicans and Democrats. Obama will have his NASA budget altered by the Congress in order to save NASA and keep NASA astronauts flying, and he won't even care. You see, NASA and America's manned space program means nothing to him, it is an annoyance to be handled by others- he's only coming to KSC because he was urged by Senator Bill Nelson to do something... anything, in the wake of his disastrous budget's release.
I only hope that I am totally wrong in this and that when it comes to NASA's manned spaceflight efforts, Obama really is "engaged" "enthusiastic" and "only has been ill-advised" as Bill Nelson has stated. And if I am wrong, I'll come here and say so- all four of you reading this will know. But... this is Obama, a president who never fails to let our nation down. On April 15th, I expect him to let us down once again.