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Budget cuts to delay Orion, NASA warns
Posted: Thu, Mar 1, 2007, 8:08 AM ET (1308 GMT)
Orion spacecraft illustration (Lockheed Martin) A cut of half a billion dollars in NASA's exploration program approved by Congress last month will push the first manned flight of the agency's new Orion spacecraft into early 2015, NASA administrator Mike Griffin warned Congress Wednesday. In a hearing on the agency's budget by the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, Griffin said that the cut would force the agency to slip development of the Orion spacecraft by four to six months, meaning that the first flight would not take place until early 2015. NASA had previously planned to met a deadline set by President Bush when he announced the Vision for Space Exploration three years ago to have Orion, previously known as the Crew Exploration Vehicle, enter service by the end of 2014. Senators expressed concern about the effects of an extended gap between the retirement of the shuttle in 2010 and the introduction of Orion, and said they would look into ways to give NASA authority to transfer money from other agency programs or other solutions to make up for the shortfall.
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