No End for Space

I, for one, am thrilled to see the US is not ignoring the challenges of moving beyond our humble domain on Earth.

As NASA announced yesterday, the Obama administration has given the go ahead to push forward on deep space missions. Tapped for the mission is a design called the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle developed by NASA and Lockheed Martin.

So much of the communications capability we take for granted today — from cellphones to satellite communications to GPS and so forth — was enabled by federal funding of bleeding-edge technology used in the space program. (And that doesn’t even begin to cover the major advances in rockets, materials science and other areas.)

Even in the midst of a severe cash crunch, the US is betting that the benefits outweigh the costs.

While some opined that it was a mistake for the Bush and Obama administrations to give up on moon landings and obsolete the Space Shuttle, the picture that is now emerging is more complete. Far from completely giving up on space travel, the US is once again putting the proverbial stake in the ground (or its celestial equivalent) and moving the bar well past where man has thus far traveled.

The electronics industry historically has benefited from NASA’s investments. Let’s hope history once again repeats.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow