Cancellation of the Constellation Program Will Benefit the American Space Program

Cancellation of the Constellation Program Will Benefit the American Space Program

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NASA has been in the business of sending men and materials into space for more than fifty years. With the introduction of the space shuttle in 1980, however, it has essentially become a transport and shipping company rather than an organization responsible for developing modern technologies to take Americans to Mars and beyond. The space shuttle was a tremendous technological achievement that enabled NASA to send millions of tons of cargo and equipment into low Earth obit, but its successor, the Constellation Program, which relies on rockets and crew capsules much like NASA’s early space programs, represents a step backward in space exploration vehicle design (“Propulsion Systems”, 2003). At this critical time in the American space program, NASA should be looking to the future rather than the past.
President Obama’s cancellation of the Constellation Program in the 2011 federal budget may appear to some to signal the end of NASA as an organization. His intent for cancelling the program, however, is reputedly to relieve NASA from the burden of pursuing old technology to continue i...

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