NASA to keep the Shuttle alive for an extra 10 years?

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NASA to keep the Shuttle alive for an extra 10 years?

NASA planned to end the Shuttle program in 2010 and instead rely on Russian shuttles until their new Constellation ships came into operation in 2015.

Now however they are trying to see how to keep the shuttles alive an extra 5 years. It looks like the Russian situation has caused some back tracking on their plans, which is for the good, as relying on the Russians for 5 years was risky at best.

CAPE CANAVERAL -- NASA Administrator Michael Griffin has ordered his subordinates to study how the agency could fly the space shuttle beyond its planned retirement in 2010, according to an internal e-mail obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.

The decision signals what could be a huge change in NASA policy. Griffin repeatedly has rejected the notion of extending the shuttle era beyond its 2010 retirement date, arguing it could cripple the fledgling Constellation program, a system of new rockets and capsules meant to replace the shuttle in 2015.

But Griffin has been under enormous external pressure. Sen. John McCain recently asked the White House to stop dismantling parts of the shuttle program for at least a year.

At the same time, eroding relations with Russia have motivated lawmakers to find a way to fill the five-year gap between the shuttle's retirement and the maiden voyage of Constellation in 2015. The current plan calls for NASA to buy Russian spacecraft during the gap.

The email, sent on Wednesday, August 27, by John Coggeshall, manager of "Manifest and Schedules" at Johnson Space Center in Houston, suggested that the analysis was more than just a contingency study.

"We want to focus on helping bridge the gap of US vehicles travelling to the ISS as efficiently as possible," it said.

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 http://blogs.orlandosentine...
By netchicken: posted on 30-8-2008








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