Recession in Space? NASA’s Constellation would be a leap forward from the space shuttle, but is it worth the price?
The space shuttle is set to be retired at the end of 2010. Until its replacement, the Constellation system, is operational, NASA astronauts will have little choice but to hitch a ride on a Russian rocket to get to the International Space Station.
With sufficient funding and political support, Constellation could get American astronauts back into space as early as 2014 and to the moon by 2019.
That is, if it doesn’t get canceled first. One concern about Constellation is that, at $44 billion, it costs too much. For a fraction of the price of getting humans to the moon and Mars, NASA could send more robotic probes. The future of Constellation will depend in large part on the results of a White House-ordered review of manned space projects, to be completed by September.
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