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Longer spaceflight gap possible

A proposed reduction in NASA's exploration-system budget could prolong the gap in human spaceflight after the shuttle retires.
Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle
The Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, lofted atop the Ares I launcher, will carry astronauts to the space station and beyond.
NASA
February 12, 2007
Proposed cuts to the NASA budget could prolong the gap in manned spaceflight capability from 2010, when the shuttle program is slated to end, to 2014, when NASA had planned to start operating a new launch system, according to NASA chief administrator Michael Griffin.

"The FY07 appropriations, if enacted as the House has resolved, will jeopardize our ability to transition safely and efficiently from the Shuttle to the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle," Griffin said at a press conference February 6. "It will have serious effects on people, projects, and programs this year and for the longer term."

The House budget resolution, passed January 31, reduced NASA's "exploration systems" budget for fiscal year 2007 to $577 million less than President Bush's budget request. The reduction could affect how quickly NASA would have the ability to send astronauts to the space station and to the Moon after the shuttle is retired.
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