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NASA releases SLI budget changes
Posted: Thu, Nov 14, 2002, 9:53 AM ET (1453 GMT)
Space taxi concept (OSC) NASA and the President submitted to Congress Wednesday requested amendments to the agency’s budget to accommodate changes in the Space Launch Initiative (SLI) program. The changes, outlined in a revised version of NASA’s Integrated Space Transportation Plan, would shift funding from efforts to develop technology for a second-generation reusable launch vehicle (RLV) to shuttle upgrades as well as the Orbital Space Plane, an interim reusable spacecraft that would be launched atop expendable boosters to ferry crews to the International Space Station (ISS). The space plane would cost an estimated $2.4 billion and would be ready for flight tests as early as 2006, although it would not enter operational service as an ISS until 2010, with ferry flights starting in 2012. About $300 million would be included for the space plane project in the 2003 budget. Funds would also be allocated for shuttle upgrades to allow it to continue flying through at least 2015, as well as increasing the shuttle flight rate from four to flight a year starting in 2006. While $2.3 billion will be cut from SLI from 2003 through 2007 to help pay for these new programs, SLI will continue to study launch vehicle technologies, with about $1.6 billion to be spent on those studies through 2007. The changes in SLI’s budget will not change the overall size of the NASA budget.
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