Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The concepts were there; so were billions of dollars. So what happened, and is Ares next?


Shelby G. Spires
Huntsville Times Aerospace Writer

The American space program has no set goals, faces changing priorities and has axed multi-billion dollar projects every few years.

A few examples: NASA spent $4 billion on an advanced solid rocket motor, but killed the program in 1994. The X-33 space plane concept cost $2 billion and disappeared from the drawing board in 2001. The Aerospike engine cost $1 billion but was also spiked in 2001. The RS-84 engine development project sputtered out in 2004 after $100 million was spent. Plans for the Orbital Space Plane, a shuttle replacement, were permanently docked in 2004 after spending $2 billion.

This drift wastes money and time - resources that may be in short supply for NASA in the future, experts say. Think of it as a multi-billion dollar circle of canceled dreams due to a lack of advanced technology, a retired NASA engineer told The Times last week.

Read the feature article HERE.

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