U.S. Senators Push NASA to Set Rocket Plans

July 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: Wall Street Journal

A bipartisan group of senators is ratcheting up pressure on NASA and White House budget officials to make a final decision on the design of a new heavy-lift rocket and announce the details within a few days.

But this is unlikely to happen so quickly, and might not until the fall, National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials have suggested.

The effort to get NASA to disclose specifics of its plans has been led in the past few days by Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. The lawmakers are pushing for swift release of details about the planned rocket, preferably before next week’s return of NASA’s final space-shuttle mission, for maximum impact.

The rocket, conceived as a next-generation derivative of the space shuttle, is intended to begin test flights by 2017 and take astronauts beyond low-earth orbit starting as early as 2020. [Full story]

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