Due notizie di oggi, la prima è una conferma sulla data dei primi lanci:
US Astronauts To Fly New Space Ship By 2014
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Jun 07, 2006
The space ship that will return astronauts to the Moon should be ready for tests in 2012 and for a manned flight in 2014, NASA announced Monday.
NASA plans to retire its aging shuttle fleet, which has gone through two tragic disasters, by 2010 and replace it with a Crew Exploration Vehicle to take astronauts back to the Moon by 2020.
“Our plan calls for first human flight of CEV in 2014, preceding that, is a flight test program that commences in 2012,” said Jeff Hanley, director of Constellation, a program to prepare NASA for a return to the Moon as a stepping stone to Mars.
“We are studying right now a developmental flight test where we could fly as early as April 2009 … a first stage with a dummy upper stage, with a dummy CEV on top, to validate the concept,” he said.
A final decision will be made later this year, he said.
“We are confident we can meet the goal of the vision to get human boots back on the Moon by 2020.”
NASA administrator Michael Griffin said it is “way too early” to write a complete budget.
He stressed the need to find a way to return to the Moon that is “enormously cheaper than the shuttle.”
The current shuttle fleet has taken parts to the International Space Station but has never been used as transport to the Moon.
NASA has assigned program tasks to 10 of its centers, from Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launching.
The Glenn Research Center in Ohio, despite recent staffing cuts, will be in charge of developing the vehicle.
The United States first landed on the moon in 1969 and most recently landed in 1972.
La seconda è invece una possibile “apertura” ad una collaborazione con la Russia sul progetto:
Griffin Welcomes Russian Help In Future Space Missions
by Phil Berardelli
SpaceDaily US Editor
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 07, 2006
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said he would welcome Russian participation in future space exploration missions that go beyond the International Space Station.
At a news briefing Monday, in which Griffin and other NASA officials discussed several reorganizations under way to prepare for future human flights to the Moon and Mars under the Constellation Program, he responded to a question about the potential for more U.S.-Russian cooperation in space.
The reporter, from Aviation Week, said he had spent the previous week and Moscow and had heard “laments” from Russian space officials about NASA’s lack of coordination on exploration efforts.
Griffin replied that in his travels to Russia since becoming administrator, he also has spent a good deal of time with senior officials at both Roskosmos and the S.P.Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia. With regard to robotic missions, he said, “frankly, we welcome coordination with any of the international partners who want to work with us.”
He said it is a “rare NASA science mission that doesn’t have a substantial international component to it,” but added that it has been a long time “since the Russians have expressed any interest in planetary explorations, so with the energy dollars that are flowing into Russia, if they are interested in revitalizing their very proud history of planetary exploration, I’d say I’m all for it and we would absolutely look forward to working with them.”
Griffin added that on several occasions he has said “the Russians have been great partners on (the International Space Station).” It was a tough learning experience, however, he noted.
“I was on board at the start of that learning experience and it was a tough 10 years,” he said, “but the two nations have learned to work together and have forged a very effective station partnership, and the Russians have really stepped up to the plate after our loss of Columbia.”
Griffin said he sees “no reason why, in the robotic, lunar and Mars programs, we cannot do the same - and I’m very willing to do that.”
At the same briefing, in answer to another reporter’s question about the date of the first flight of NASA’s Crew Exploration Vehicle, Griffin said the testing and launch targets are financially driven.
NASA has been discussing with Congress the levels of funding that are going to be required to finish construction of the space station, and to fly the space shuttle the remaining number of scheduled times, he said, “and that level is more than what had been planned in earlier budget years.”
He said after he joined NASA as administrator in April 2005 and had a chance to “review the books,” as he put it, “we realized we were about $4 billion short. So, though I hated to do it, I took about $2.2 billion out of (NASA’s science budget) and about $1.6 billion out of exploration in order to provide the necessary money to finish the assembly of the space station.”
That funding hit imposed delays on the CEV deployment dates, which “we don’t like, but we have to live with,” he said. “Until we have definitized contracts for all of the elements of the CEV and CLV system and know how that plays against the budget, we won’t know what the exact dates are going to be.”
At this point, Griffin continued, it still looks like 2013 or 2014 for the CEV’s first launch. “That complies with the law and we will do as best to improve that as we can.”
He said NASA, as announced, would select a CEV contractor by late summer. “We said that last year (and) we will select that contractor at the end of August or first week of September - we think we’re solidly on track and we’re pretty pleased with all that.”