NASA Administrator Charlesoffers his thoughts on a range of topics, including reliance on Russia during the post-shuttle era, cancellation of the Constellation program and the future of U.S. space exploration, in an interview with ABC News.
Asked what he sees as the division of labor between NASA and commercial space firms, Bolden says: “What will be significantly different from the way we’ve always done it before is that NASA will no longer procure vehicles and operate them for low Earth orbit activities. We are going to completely rely on our partners to do that work. We’ll still have oversight in terms of safety and engineering and the like, but we are not going to over-prescribe what they do and how they do it. They know that we want them to be able to carry humans and cargo to the international space station and other places, and we’re just going to sit back and let them tell us when they need our help in determining how you do that.”
On the subject of reliance on Russia for transportation to the international space station, Bolden says: “The primary hurdle it creates is that people will become comfortable with it and won’t feel the urgency that we feel to bring back a U.S. domestic capability to get our own astronauts and our partner nation astronauts to the international space station and other low Earth orbit destinations. You know, we tend to be shortsighted and our memory is short. I don’t want people to get comfortable that the international space station is still operating and we don’t need an American capability. We must have American capability.”