Ares V

NASA Experiences Space-Age Rivalry

July 16, 2008 09:00 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
As NASA prepares to retire its space shuttles and introduce a new rocket, a few NASA engineers work on competing designs.

30-Second Summary

In 2010, NASA will stop sending its shuttles into space.

That means the agency needs an alternative to keep the space program moving.

U.S. space shuttles are getting old, and there is a concern about astronaut safety, reports The Villages Daily Sun.

NASA engineers are developing two Ares spacecraft to replace the shuttles, but some of the organization’s workers claim they have a cheaper, safer and simpler solution in their Jupiter project, which they are pursuing anonymously.

Critics believe Jupiter rockets won’t work, and that the project has a “flawed scheme and shaky numbers,” writes the Houston Chronicle. Jupiter supporters say their plans haven’t received a fair review.

As that debate continues, several other individuals prepare for the consequences of shuttle retirement.

Tampa Bay Online reports that NASA’s plan will mean “a dramatic shift for communities that saw their first motels, large apartments and shopping centers built in the space boom.”

Despite the upcoming changes, NASA expects to retain an equivalent number of jobs. “All we’re talking about is where they’re going to be,” said Wayne Hale, a NASA manager handling transition issues.

Once the shuttles stop flying, about five years will pass before NASA sends another manned vehicle into space. Astronauts likely won’t return to the moon until 2020.

The first Ares test flight is less than a year away.

Headline Link: Alternative rockets

Opinion & Analysis: Making decisions

Related Topic: Space communities

Historical Context: Space flight

Reference: Astronomy


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