Extra $3 Billion Needed by NASA to Keep Space Shuttle

September 8, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A report prepared by an independent panel and made available to President Obama, offers bad news for future plans by NASA to continue with its space explorations and to one day return to the Moon. The space agency’s current budget can’t sustain future space travel.

The report said an additional $3 Billion a Year is needed to keep the space shuttle in operation beyond its scheduled retirement next year.

The NASA report was prepared by The U.S. Human Space Flight Plans Committee, with the final report due out later this month. Without the additional funding, NASA would be forced to rely on Russia for the next five years to reach the international space station.

President-elect Barack Obama has proposed delaying the shuttle’s retirement. He is concerned about the gap between the shuttle’s retirement and the new ship’s completion.

Various option’s were presented to President Obama, but one conclusion reached by both the report and the President; is that current plans must be modified in light of the financial realities of NASA.

Five years ago, President George W. Bush had a bold vision to return to the Moon by 2020. To pay for the future Moon mission, the shuttle was scheduled to be retired by next year and the international space station was to be shut down in 2015. But those plans are no longer viable.

The report called for private investments to fund future space missions and to combine efforts with other countries.

NASA can’t exceed low-Earth orbit without spending more money, but space travel with astronauts is important to the country, said the report. Panel member Edward Crawley, a professor of aeronautics at MIT agreed that the additional expense of $3 billion a year is “unquestionably worth it.”

The report recommended that the space shuttle should continue operating until 2011 and that the space station be extended beyond 2015.

The new rocket Ares is nearly a decade away from becoming built and operational.

The report further suggested that NASA pursue a “flexible path” that focuses on asteroids, and the moons of mars with a space mission to Mars as the ultimate goal.

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One Response to “Extra $3 Billion Needed by NASA to Keep Space Shuttle”

  1. Mars trip would exceed NASA’s radiation limits | world science,encyclopedia of physics formulas on September 29th, 2009 7:15 am

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