Press Release

NASA Marks Third Anniversary of Obama Support of Space at Kennedy

By SpaceRef Editor
April 15, 2013
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NASA Marks Third Anniversary of Obama Support of Space at Kennedy

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA marked the third anniversary Monday of President Obama’s speech at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where he laid out a plan to ensure the United States will remain the world’s leader in space exploration.

Obama’s plan includes reaching new destinations, such as an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s, using NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft. During an anniversary event at Kennedy’s Operations and Checkout Building, where Orion spacecraft is being processed for a 2014 flight test, Kennedy Space Center Director Robert Cabana and human spaceflight officials showcased Orion’s crew module.

“Three years ago today, the president was here in an empty high bay challenging us to go to an asteroid by 2025, said Cabana. “Today, this is a world-class production facility with a flight article, a flight vehicle, Orion, getting ready to fly next year. We’ve made tremendous progress in our transition to the future. And now with the announcement from the budget rollout last week about our plans to retrieve an asteroid and send a crew to it, we’re moving forward to meet the president’s challenge.”

Following the president’s 2010 visit to Kennedy, Congress passed the bipartisan NASA Authorization Act of 2010. The agency continues to implement the ambitious national space exploration plan outlined in the act. It will enable scientific discovery and technological developments for years to come and make critical advances in aerospace and aeronautics to benefit the American people.

“I am very proud of the progress the NASA team has made over the past three years to meet the President’s challenge, aligning our capabilities in human spaceflight, technology and science to capture an asteroid, relocate it and send astronauts to explore it,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a statement. “The president’s budget for next year advances a strategic plan for the future that builds on U.S. preeminence in science and technology, improves life on Earth and protects our home planet, while creating well-paying jobs and strengthening the American economy.”

The 2014 flight test will be the first launch of Orion. NASA also is progressing toward a launch of Orion on top of the SLS rocket during a 2017 flight test.

SLS is essential to America’s future in human spaceflight and scientific exploration of deep space. It will take humans beyond Earth orbit to an asteroid and Mars. Ground systems development and operations to support launches of SLS and Orion from Kennedy also are well into development. The SLS Program is on track to complete the rocket’s preliminary design review this summer. The tools needed to build SLS’s massive structure and fuel tanks are being installed at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The process will include one of the largest welding tools ever built.

In addition, the agency is working with the private sector to develop a strong commercial capability to deliver cargo and crew to low-Earth orbit. The Boeing Co. of Houston plans to use a former space shuttle hangar at Kennedy to process its CST-100 vehicle, one of several spacecraft in development for commercial providers to take astronauts to low-Earth orbit from American soil in the next four years.

The agency continues to develop technologies for traveling farther into space, such as solar electric propulsion, which will power a mission to capture an asteroid and return it to an orbit nearer to Earth. Then astronauts will launch from Kennedy aboard an SLS rocket and fly to the asteroid to study it in an Orion spacecraft by as early as 2021.

For more information about NASA’s ongoing work in human spaceflight, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.