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Boldly Going Nowhere: Nasa Ends Plan to Put Man Back on Moon

liftoff of the Apollo 11 liftoff Saturn V space vehicle

The liftoff of the Apollo 11 Saturn V space vehicle from Kennedy Space Center.

Credit: NASA

NASA has begun to wind down construction of the rockets and spacecraft that were to have taken astronauts back to the Moon—effectively dismantling the U.S. human spaceflight program despite a congressional ban on its doing so. Legislators have accused President Obama's Administration of contriving to slip the termination of the Constellation program through the back door to avoid a battle on Capitol Hill.

Constellation aimed to build upon what was arguably America's greatest technological achievement, the first lunar landing of 1969, by launching new expeditions to the Moon and to Mars and worlds beyond. President Obama proposed in February that it should be scrapped because it was "over budget, behind schedule and lacking in innovation," but he has met opposition in Congress, which has yet to approve his plan.

The head of NASA, Major-General Charlie Bolden—an Obama appointee—has now written to aerospace contractors telling them to cut back immediately on Constellation-related projects costing almost $1 billion, to comply with regulations requiring them to budget for possible contract termination costs.

From The Times Online
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