NASA Space Shuttle Retirement May be Delayed
NASA is apparently looking at extending the life of the Space Shuttle until the new man-rated launch system, Ares, [with Orion being the manned component] comes on line about 2015. [September 2014 is now the scheduled launch date for the first manned flight of Orion. Additional funding at this stage of the progam would not move the date forward significantly.] The Space Shuttle was planned to be retired in 2010, which would leave a five year gap with the only regular manned flights being on the Russian Soyuz. Both Obama and McCain have indicated support for NASA and possibly increasing funding. NASA Manager Michael Griffen has requested NASA staff to look at continuing Shuttle flights until 2015, but this would cost about $4 billion a year, so there is the problem: more funding or the Ares development will be delayed or rely on Russian launches that might not always be available for International Space Station, ISS, support.
The Ares is intended to support manned exploration of the moon and Mars. This brings up the other question: should the ISS be supported any further? The ISS is not at full capacity, which would be six scientists aboard fulltime and never will be. The ISS is nearing the end of its designed life, which might seem strange considering it is not yet built to completion.
Here is the opinion: the ISS should be turned over to anybody that is interested, the Space Shuttle should be retired, and the moon base should be the priority. There would be no manned NASA launches until 2015 at the earliest. Time to move on.
9 Sept 2008, More Griffin, on White House Interference!:
National Air and Space Agency Administrator Mike Griffin has written critically of a lack of funding for a new rocket and White House interference in America's space flight program, the Orlando Sentinel reported Sunday.
"My own view is about as pessimistic as it is possible to be," he wrote Aug. 18 in predicting continuation of the space shuttle program, which he opposes as unsafe and a waste of resources.
Endeavour's hangar rollout completed this morning
In preparation for its role as a standby rescue craft during next month's Hubble Space Telescope servicing mission and the scheduled November logistics run to the international space station, shuttle Endeavour was moved to the Vehicle Assembly Building this morning.
MISSION STATUS CENTER - updates!
Ares launch system design review moving, slowly
NASA's Ares I Rocket Passes Review To Reach Critical Milestone
This week, the J-2X engine will be the first Ares I element to kick off the critical design review process. The engine will power the Ares I upper stage to orbit after separation from the first stage. Desktops available :: 1360x768 :: 1280x1024 :: 1024x768
Huntsville AL (SPX) Sep 12, 2008