Augustine Panel: No Good News On Matching Budget, Exploration Program

Augustine Panel: No Good News On Matching Budget, Exploration Program

The Augustine panel had no encouraging words for supporters of the Constellation program or any of the other concepts for sending humans beyond low Earth orbit.

New York Times, NASA Panel Grapples with Cost of Space Plans

The United States cannot afford to send humans anywhere beyond the space station – especially Mars – unless it wants to spend more money.

“You just can’t get there,” Sally Ride, the former astronaut, said over and over again on Wednesday as she presented calculations of the costs and timetables of various proposed space missions, rangng from establishing a base on the Moon to touring asteroids to landing on Mars., NASA Budget Too Slim To Reach Moon by 2020, Panel Says

NASA has a budget of about $80 billion for human spaceflight through 2020, about $28 billion less than projected when it first chose the Orion spacecraft and its Ares rockets to succeed the space shuttle fleet. Orion spacecraft are not expected to begin operational flights until 2015, the committee said.

Augustine said that NASA’s exploration budget has been cut repeatedly since announcing the new space exploration plan in 2005, hindering its progress. Technical and other delays have also led to the current shortfall, he added. Still he and his committee were surprised none of their options fit in NASA’s current budget

Orlando Sentinel, Moon or Space Station? Budget Means NASA Must Pick, Panel Says

“We are on a path right now, for a system that requires [roughly] double the current budget just to operate,” said Jeff Greason, a panel member and co-founder of XCOR Aerospace

“If Santa Claus brought us this [Constellation] system tomorrow, fully developed, and the budget didn’t change, our next action would have to be to cancel it,” he said.

“Yup,” responded Ride.

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