One of the criticisms of NASA’s Moon return Constellation programme was that it wasn’t going to get astronauts back to the Earth’s natural satellite until long after 2020
But are dates really that important? If you’re prepared to spend the money why not take longer, spend more but get there in the end anyway? Deseret News says Utah politicians want pretty much exactly that with a call for Constellation to continue at a slower pace. But the programme of record appears to have achieved that slower pace already according to NASASpaceflight.com which says Constellation is withering on the vine, its workers demoralised after five years of hard graft resulting in cancellation
Whatever is said in that space summit room it seems all could be truly lost for Shuttle already as spacepolitics.com’s Jeff Foust is reporting that David Radzanowski, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for programme integration in the agency’s space operations mission directorate, confirmed that a decision now to continue Shuttle would still mean a spaceflight gap of at least two years following what could be the very final flight, the proposed contingency mission STS-135; which makes you wonder why the US Review of human spaceflight plans included options for continuing Shuttle that made no mention of gaps – what weren’t they told?