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NASA MPCV  (Source: lockheedmartin.com)
A reduction in funding from Congress has bumped testing from 2015 to 2017

NASA has announced that commercial space flights will be delayed until 2017 due to decreased funding for its commercial partnership.

In a hearing with the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee's Subcommittee on Science and Space last week, Charles Bolden, NASA administrator, revealed that commercial space flights will be delayed two years.

Last month, NASA requested $850 million for its next phase of its commercial crew vehicle development. The effort is expected to give the U.S. a lift to the International Space Station (ISS) and beyond without having to depend on Russia, which has been the case since the retirement of NASA's space shuttle program earlier this year.

NASA has been urging Congress to fork over the $850 million because the cost for a U.S. astronaut to ride along with the Russians is expected to increase to $63 million per seat by 2015. In addition, NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said that the U.S. would have to pay the Russians $450 million annually for every year that the U.S. delays its own commercial crew vehicle development.

The plan was to send the first NASA commercial crew vehicle for testing in 2015 and to the ISS by 2016. But since Congress has only dished out $500 million of the $850 million requested, Bolden announced that the commercial crew vehicle development will be delayed two years to 2017.

"A reduction in funding from the president's request could significantly impact the program's schedule, risk, posture, and acquisition strategy," said Bolden.

Despite this delay, Bolden noted that NASA will continue working diligently on the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) and Space Launch System (SLS). The MPCV will be used to transport a crew from Earth to a desired destination such as Mars, and can carry up to four people for 21 days. NASA is also looking to send astronauts deeper into space than ever before.

NASA will test the system without a crew in 2017, and test the system with a crew in 2021.

Sources: Florida Today, Information Week



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RE: Typical Senate.
By Ringold on 11/21/2011 11:31:42 PM , Rating: 2
I can, actually. The last Apollo mission in 1975 was a docking mission with a Soviet Soyuz, when NASA was pretty much still an extension of the military, stocked full of military test pilots and engineers who probably cut their teeth working on ICBMs. Wiki talks about detente, which kinda glosses over the fact Brezhnev was bankrolling the guerrillas in Vietnam and it was either he or Khrushchev that said later in life he was entirely willing to nuke NYC, not to start all-out nuclear war but just, ya know, give us a black eye.

Further, a lot of communication between states, especially when tensions are high or formal diplomatic ties dont exist, take place military-to-military. They can be the last to break down.

As for as cooperation goes, I think the military would neither help nor hinder in terms of working with anyone that matters. Some of those that dont, just want money, be it from a "civilian" NASA or a military one. And the rest, well, who cares about Iran.


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