Switching from Shuttle to C.E.V Mode... Apr 26, 2006 10:15:48 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Apr 26, 2006 10:15:48 GMT -6
Shuttle-to-CEV Shift is NASA’s Greatest Challenge, Space Agency Chief Says
Despite ongoing work to launch its next shuttle flight by July, NASA’s greatest challenge lies further ahead in the coming shift to a new spaceship by 2014, the U.S. space agency’s chief said Tuesday.
NASA administrator Michael Griffin said that proper handling of the agency’s workforce while it is refocused – and reduced – for the Crew Exploration Vehicle is vital for nation’s spaceflight future as the shuttle fleet approaches a 2010 retirement.
“To be clear, NASA will not need as many engineers and technicians on the shop floor to operate and maintain the CEV and Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) as we do today with the space shuttle,” Griffin told the Senate’s science and space subcommittee, adding that both new vehicles are designed to be simpler and cheaper than NASA orbiters. “Change is hard, but if we don’t act now to bring it about, we will not develop the space program that we want to have.”
Some shuttle workers will be transferred to other CEV support programs where their skills can be applied, Griffin added.
Griffin also maintained that he is optimistic NASA will meet its July window to launch the STS-121 shuttle mission to the International Space Station (ISS), marking the agency’s second test flight following the 2003 Columbia disaster. Shuttle program managers are expected to pick a launch date from the mission’s July 1-19 window on Thursday, he added.
NASA hopes to launch as many as three shuttle missions this year – beginning with STS-121 and followed by two ISS construction flights – pending the resolution of ongoing external tank wind tunnel tests to verify modifications to the tank’s foam insulation.
Story here: www.space.com/news/060425_nasa_cev_challenge.html