Will election results affect NASA funding?
Predictions say NASA funding is unlikely to rise under either a Democratic or Republican president. However, NASA's priorities under Obama or Romney might be different.
The outcome of today's (Nov. 6) presidential election is unlikely to have a profound impact on the future direction of American spaceflight and exploration, experts say.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Election Day 2012 - America Votes!
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
While Republican candidate Mitt Romney has revealed few details about his space plans, a Romney Administration probably wouldn't dramatically alter the path NASA is currently pursuing under President Barack Obama, according to some observers.
The status quo
To reach these deep-space destinations, the agency is developing a huge rocket called the Space Launch System and a crew capsule called Orion. NASA hopes the SLS-Orion combo will begin launching astronauts by late 2021.
The Obama Administration has also encouraged NASA to hand over crew and cargo activities in low-Earth orbit (LEO) to private American companies. The aim is to fill the void left by the 2011 retirement of the space shuttle program, which was set in motion by President George W. Bush back in 2004.
NASA has doled out a total of $1.4 billion in the past two years to firms developing crewed vehicles. The agency wants at least two crewed commercial spaceships to be up and running by 2017; until then, the United States will remain dependent on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to provide this orbital taxi service.
The progress has been faster on the cargo front, with California-based SpaceX completing the first of 12 contracted supply flights to the International Space Station with its robotic Dragon capsule last month. NASA has also inked a resupply deal with Virginia-based Orbital Sciences Corp., which aims to launch a demonstration mission to the orbiting lab in the coming months.