by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 17, 2015
On April 15, 2010, President Barack Obama outlined his plan for America's space program. At NASA's Kennedy Space Center that day, the President said:
"We will not only extend humanity's reach in space -- we will strengthen America's leadership here on Earth ... For pennies on the dollar, the space program has improved our lives, advanced our society, strengthened our economy, and inspired generations of Americans ... the question for us now is whether that was the beginning of something or the end of something. I choose to believe it was only the beginning."
The President's plan will put American astronauts on Mars in the 2030s. In the five years since the President's speech, NASA has brought the United States closer to realizing that vision than at any point in human history. During that time, the agency has:
+ Flown the Orion spacecraft farther into space than any spacecraft built for human passengers has flown in more than four decades.
+ Moved the Space Launch System rocket from concept to development, hitting critical benchmarks.
+ Moved forward on the Asteroid Redirect Mission, which will test new capabilities - like advanced propulsion systems - that will be needed for future human expeditions to Mars.
+ Sent the MAVEN spacecraft to Mars to join a fleet of orbiters and surface rovers, building on America's 40-year legacy of advanced robotic exploration of that planet.
+ Sent astronaut Scott Kelly to the International Space Station to spend a year there to continue research into how the human body responds to extended periods of time off the planet.
+ Chose Boeing and SpaceX to transport our astronaut crews to the station, bringing those launches back to America in 2017 and ending our sole reliance on the Russians to get humans into space.
+ Tested new technologies like Low Density Supersonic Decelerator that will allow heavier spacecraft to land safely on places like Mars.
Read the Administrator's speech to the National Space Symposium.
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