Obama officials: Ares dead and $6bn destined for commercial rockets
Administration officials andÂ a former astronaut on WednesdayÂ called Â President Barack Obamaâ€™s plans for NASA â€œexcitingâ€ and â€œboldâ€, saying that he was replacing a failed moon program with a new $6 billion project to develop commercial rockets capable of taking astronauts into orbit.
They said it was all part of a broader plan to hike NASAâ€™s budget by an average of $1.3 billion annually over the next five years. Part of that increase would cover a new technology research and development program, extension of the life of the International Space Station from 2015 to 2020, and investments in infrastructure at Kennedy Space Center to modernize the facility to maintain it as Americaâ€™s premier spaceport.
But conspicuous by its absence was any mention of aÂ commitment to develop a newÂ government owned and operated â€œheavy-liftâ€ rocket capable of taking humans beyond the low Earth Orbit.
The news teleconference was organized for a few select Florida reporters in response to the Orlando Sentinelâ€™s report on Tuesday which said that the White House budget next week would kill NASAâ€™s plans to return astronauts to the moon and scrap the rockets being developed to take them there.
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