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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on May 12, 2005 20:24:49 GMT -6
Shuttle's Retirement May Affect ISS Construction, NASA Chief Says
NASA’s looming deadline to retire its space shuttle fleet by 2010 may complicate plans to complete the International Space Station, according to the agency’s top official.
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said that while completing the ISS is a major goal of both, the agency’s return to flight effort and its exploration vision, meeting the challenge by the 2010 deadline may prove difficult.
“We may not be able to make the exact completion date that we desire,” Griffin told reporters during a recent shuttle update. “But we will complete it.”
Retiring the three remaining space shuttles in favor of a new crew-carrying vehicle is a hallmark of NASA’s exploration vision – announced by President Bush in January 2004 – which calls for a return of human explorers to the moon, then sending them to Mars and beyond. The first steps in that vision are resuming shuttle flights and fulfilling NASA’s ISS commitments with its international partners.
“The President, the space policy that we have, is very firm in that the shuttle will retire in 2010,” Griffin said. “What we’ll do if we don’t complete the International Space Station by then is look at other means to complete it.”