The presidential panel reviewing the U.S. space program sees little hope for NASA's Ares 1
moon rocket, though it found the program technically sound. The problem, the
board said in its final report, is a question of timing.
To make up for budget shortfalls, NASA delayed development,
postponing the rocket's debut until at least 2017, according to the advisory
panel which was tapped to come up with options for the U.S. human space
By then, the International Space Station will have been
removed from orbit, though the panel also recommended funding the station
through at least 2020. Unfortunately for Ares 1, additional funding for station
likely would delay Ares' debut another couple of years.
“I think there is argument that it was a sensible program to
begin with. There is a real question as to whether it’s a sensible program
today ,” said space review panel chairman Norm Augustine. “The
(schedule) slippage has caused a mismatch between what Ares 1 is needed for and
what it’s going to be able to do.
“It’s very useful to be told that you’re on a track that you
don’t have enough money to stay on, and we can continue ...