Commission Studying Americas Future In Space

07.31.09 | FL News Team

(Cocoa Beach, FL) -- The presidential panel asked to consider America's future exploration of space met in the shadow of the Kennedy Space Center Thursday to hear more about the retirement of the space shuttle fleet, progress in developing the next-generation rocket, and thousands of job losses that will be created during the period simply referred to as "the gap."

Commission Chairman Norman Augustine says with its current budget, NASA can only afford the shuttle or a manned Mars program, not both.  He says the committee will lay out its recommendation for the best course of action, but ultimately the President will choose which path to take.

Earlier in the week, others testified to the committee that the Ares program is well behind schedule and that "the gap" between the shuttle's retirement next year and the launch of Ares could drag on for years.  The panel will meet once more in Washington next week and submit its recommendations to President Obama and Congress at the end of August.