Thursday, March 01, 2007

Budget Delays Orion Until 2015 brings this depressing news. Well, the idea is "pay as you go" so if we don't pay, we don't go. This is bad news because with Shuttle retiring in 2010, we'll have no manned launch capacity for five years, and the way things are going in Russia it's not a given that we can buy rides from them. We may not be able to get to our own space station.
NASA Administrator Mike Griffin told a Senate panel Wednesday that development of Orion crew spacecraft and the Ares launch vehicle will be delayed four to six months, pushing the first operational flight of the new system into 2015.

Griffin said the slip is unavoidable in the face of a flat 2007 budget that denies NASA’s exploration program about half of the more than $900 million increase it was seeking [image].

“The reduction does not halt any planned work we were going to do on [Orion and Ares] but it does stretch it out,” Griffin told the Senate Commerce space and aeronautics subcommittee.

He said the slip would delay everything from the planned April 2009 test flight of the Ares I-1 rocket to the first operational flight, which had been targeted to occur no later than 2014.

“We can expect a slip into early 2015,” he said.

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