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US space policy at a crossroad

April 13th, 2010

Project Constellation insignia
Image via Wikipedia

NASA currently plans to retire Endeavour and its sister ships Atlantis and Discovery in the fall of this year. Their replacement, the capsule-based Orion ship and its Ares I booster, is not slated to begin operational flights until 2015 at the earliest, and potentially later. Russian academic Yury Zaitsev told Interfax news agency that he thought the United States would be dependent on Russia to transport its astronauts until at least 2020.

If not enough, an independent review panel (final report and summary report)found that the previous program to return astronauts to the Moon was fundamentally un-executable. In place of the Constellation program, the administration would like to spend $6 billion over five years to finance the development of rockets and crew capsules by commercial companies.

Despite lack of funding and leadership condemned this program years ago (Bush never allocated the funding NASA would have required to carry out Constellation), yet the new plans have raised much alarm and concern, with strong criticisms for their lack in ambition and clear goals, threatening the American position as the global leader in space.

In order to answer to these criticism President Obama is preparing for the April 15th conference on America’s future in space, where will unveil an ambitious plan for NASA that sets the agency on a reinvigorated path of space exploration, on a more dynamic, flexible, and sustainable trajectory.


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Tags: Constellation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, President Obama, Russian Federation, US
Posted in aerospace, strategies | Comments (0)

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