By Sylvia Gurinsky
President Obama's 2009 plan phasing out the Space Shuttle left many disappointed because of the lack of a specific future plan for manned spaceflight. Now that the shuttle program has formally come to a close, Obama needs to revise the spaceflight plan - even including the private sector.
In 2009, Obama let both the bleak state of the economy and his inexperience in his new job influence his plan. And for a man who frequently speaks inspiring words, Obama doesn't have a significant understanding of symbolism in American life - at least regarding manned spaceflight.
Yes, it's expensive and frequently ignored. But it's also important to American morale. Someone who is mentioned as an astronaut immediately gets the conversation changed - especially in a room full of schoolchildren looking for heroes.
Obama doesn't have to increase NASA's budget - not that he could right now, anyway. He does need to find the right private partners to announce the next generation of manned space flight.
Recently, The Christian Science Monitor published a number of articles about the privitization of flight:
Ideally, the next generation of manned spaceflight should be public-private. And Obama should get specific on it as soon as possible.