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What's Next for NASA?

This undated photo provided by SpaceX shows the DragonLab in orbit. In its new budget released on Feb. 1, 2010, the Obama administration proposed spending billions of dollars to encourage private companies to build, launch and operate spacecraft for NASA and others. (AP)

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New marching orders for NASA, as one of the last scheduled space shuttle flights took off from Cape Canaveral this morning.

No more American return to the moon. The new Obama administration budget would scrap that. And no more NASA flights shuttling astronauts to the space station and low-Earth orbit. The new plan would hand that taxi work off to private companies.

And NASA? The plan is for it to look deeper into space, with new technologies.

Some say it’s really a retreat. Others say it’s just right.

This hour, On Point: charting a new American way in space.

Guests:

Joining us from Merritt Island, Florida, is William Harwood, space analyst for CBS News. He’s been covering the American space program for more than 15 years.  He blogs at CBS’s Space Place.

Joining us from Bethesda, Maryland, is Howard McCurdy, a space policy expert and a professor of public affairs at American University.  His latest book is “Faster, Better, Cheaper: Low-Cost Innovation in the U.S. Space Program.”

From Alexandria, Virginia, we’re joined by John Pike. A space and security analyst, he’s founder and director of GlobalSecurity.org.

And from Los Angeles, we’re joined by Buzz Aldrin. The second man to walk on the Moon, after crewmate Neil Armstrong, he was the lunar module pilot on the Apollo 11 mission.  

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