Young Astronaut hopefuls question the future of space program - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Young Astronaut hopefuls question the future of space program

By Curtis McCloud -   bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - These campers with the Coca Cola Space Science Center all share a common dream. They love and enjoy outer space, some with hopes of becoming astronauts.

"It would be so cool to get in a rocket and just zoom away from earth and be able to go to other planets and make new discoveries," David Medof said.

Medof wants to be a physicist and one day lead a team on a mission to Mars.

"NASA is going to develop new space ships and new technologies to go to like mars and beyond," Medof said.

This marks the beginning of a new era for the United States space program. It isn't going away but the director of the Challenger Learning Center at our local space facility told us today; a new program is already in the works.

"The shuttle program is shutting down but not the space program, we are moving into an era where private companies are going to be sending astronauts to the space station," Scott Norman.

According to the head of the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, Shawn Cruzen, these aeronautics companies are all in competition to get the stamp of approval from NASA.

The four front runners Space X or Space Exploration Technologies, Sierra Nevada, United Space Alliance- a partnership with Lockheed Martin and Boeing, and the fourth is Blue Origin, founded by the CEO of Amazon.com. All of these private companies have eager engineers vying to make the best vehicle to go back up in space.

"It's going to be a growing field where new rocket are going to be developed to carry out the future of NASA's yet undetermined mission," Cruzen said.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly