The politicians most affected by this new direction will fight for NASA, not because of their love of space, but because of their passion for getting re-elected. They just want to make their constituents happy by "fighting for their jobs", even though it's obviously time for NASA to move into a different and more productive direction. This is exactly the kind of nonsense that gives NASA ulcers and prevents them from doing all things for all people. Politics screws up everything, period. This is mostly the reason why I'm shocked at this new Obama stance on space, because he's actually encouraging the privatization of space, versus expanding the government part. Somewhat against his character as of late, but I'll take it.
Commercial space should have been supported and developed for LEO operations years ago, and NASA should NOT be building rockets anymore. I guess one could say that they don't build them in the first place. Boeing, Lockheed and the other major contractors build the rockets, but NASA provides the requirements and has their noses in the mix every chance they get. Rocket science is no longer rocket science, if you know what I mean, and there are more competent players in the game than just NASA.
As I said in my last blog article, 'Former NASA Administrator Speaks About HSF Future', NASA engineers are not smarter than engineers at the private space companies. They all have quality educations and can produce results. The key is, which ones are bogged down by the political winds, and which ones aren't.
NASA should be building Moon Bases, and/or long range spacecraft to asteroids and Mars. The only way to do that is to shed off tasks that are no longer required, passing them to an industry that will drive our national economy in the direction of advanced technology and a true space age.
This is finally the right move. I'm not happy about losing the Moon return, but I knew this would come at a price. My hope is that Commercial Space will see all that new found water on the Moon as a lure, and cause them to want to build a base there, with or without government help.
As for those of you who question going back to the Moon, what did we really do the first time? Drive a dune buggy, hit a golf ball and bring back some rocks? Seriously? We didn't really do anything ON the Moon, we just went there to lay flags and footprints in an effort to one-up the USSR. Whoopie fraggin do.
The reason to go back is to USE the Moon, not just visit it. To make it a research station, to make it a vacation spot, to make it a fuel station, to make it whatever else is beneficial to the advancement of science, knowledge, and exploring further into space. THAT is the reason for going back to the Moon, and it needs to be done. If the governments of the world don't want to work together to make that happen, then NewSpace will.