In a speech today to a crowd that included Buzz Aldrin, Neil Degrasse Tyson, and Bill Nye, President Barack Obama promised that he is firmly committed to returning to space (not personally).

A $6 billion increase has been allocated to NASA over the next five years, including $40 million for Florida jobs, which will be impacted severely by the retirement of the space shuttle program. $3 billion will be invested in the heavy-lift rocket, to be finalized by 2015, and Orion “will be readied for flight right here in this room.”

He also reaffirmed his belief in relying on private-sector methods of getting to space, building on years of private-sector development of the technologies used by NASA. “We will actually reach space faster and more often under this plan.”

“Nobody is more committed to manned space flight, to human exploration of space, than I am. But we’ve got to do it in a smart way.”