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White House to review NASA exploration plan
Posted: Wed, May 6, 2009, 4:16 AM ET (0816 GMT)
Ares 1 launch illustration (NASA) The Obama Administration is expected to order later this week a review of NASA's exploration architecture, specifically the Ares 1 launch vehicle and Orion crew exploration vehicle. The announcement of the review is expected to be timed to the release of additional details about the administration's fiscal year 2010 budget proposal, scheduled for Thursday. The 60- to 90-day review, said by one report to be chaired by former Lockheed Martin chairman Norman Augustine, will examine whether the Ares 1 launch vehicle and Orion spacecraft are the best approaches to implementing national space policy. NASA selected the current architecture in late 2005, a few months after former NASA administrator Mike Griffin took office. The Ares 1 in particular has been sharply criticized in some quarters for a series of technical issues and cost and schedule concerns. NASA also recently decided to reduce the initial crew capacity of the Orion spacecraft for ISS missions from six to four.
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