I think it would be more prudent to base all decisions regarding human space exploration not on what makes Florida happy, ergo Florida voters, but what's in the best interest of the longevity of human space exploration and the advanced technology it develops, our passion and desire to learn and do complex things, and our ability to pass that spark to future generations who will, without question, be the ones who implement and drive the bus.
So let me see if I get this right:
1. Orion is back in a light form to act as the ferryboat for the ISS. Didn't we have CRV (X-38) on the table for this? And CRV was canceled in 2002 for...er...whatever.
2. The new system does nothing beyond LEO. How nice...more laps around the same track.
3. It looks like Lockheed makes out rather well in all this. I wonder how much their lobbyists got paid for pulling this one off?
4. NASA is going to put serious focus on R&D for beyond LEO operations. Okay, as long as there is a good amount of 'D' being done and not just a bunch of 'R'.
5. And just how do we get our own people up there to use this lifeboat (if necessary) in the first place? Build the lifeboat, then the crew launcher? Or, what's missing in the data, are we relying completely on SpaceX ET AL for that bit? Which is fine by me, but just not stated.
What we have here is a supreme failure to announce a mission, a mission with substance, drive, passion and goals. I am getting very sick and tired of lawyers and bankers determining my fate, my future, the future of humanity and the future of space exploration.
I am getting sick and tired of people who don't have a clue about anything regarding space to be the ones who dictate how space is funded, what we do there, and hold the strings of who's put in charge.
I am getting sick and tired of risk averse pansies who don't have the courage to step up and announce that space is difficult...duh...but vastly rewarding, and every astronaut or person who wants to go into space is well aware and fully accepting of the challenges. BRING IT ON!
But oh, someone might get hurt. PEOPLE DIE BY THE THOUSANDS ANNUALLY IN CAR ACCIDENTS, YOU IDIOTS!!! Do you see Congress regulating that sector as they do space? In fact, I'm sure you can come up with many other things that are far more dangerous and deadly than what we've experienced in space exploration.
When is enough enough? When do we step up and demand better? When do we elect better (not that we really have a choice with who we're presented with, do we)? Will we EVER be educated enough to understand how damn important things like this are, and how completely incompetent the people are that we put in charge? All the while we struggle to survive daily, our world view so narrowly focused on just making it through the week.
THIS is why we are in need of a system change. We're being herded, blinded and led by jackasses whose personal political and financial interests trump common sense, reason and logic...oh yeah, and OUR interests and survival without stress or dominance from controllable forces.
Vision, focus and clarity would be nice right about now, something that inspires...not just placates.