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Augustine panel proposes shuttle extension
Posted: Wed, Jul 29, 2009, 7:40 AM ET (1140 GMT)
STS-127: launch (NASA/KSC) A subcommittee of a White House-chartered panel reviewing the future of NASA's human spaceflight program suggested Tuesday extending the shuttle program by up to four years to minimize a gap in ISS access. The Review of US Human Space Flight Plans Committee, commonly called the Augustine committee after chairman Norm Augustine, discussed scenarios by one of its subcommittees at a public hearing Tuesday in Houston. That subcommittee, chaired by Sally Ride, concluded that the current manifest of shuttle missions could not be completed before spring 2011, and that Constellation was unlikely to enter service before 2017. The subcommittee presented several scenarios, preferring an option that would stretch out the remaining shuttle flights and add several more to keep the shuttle in operation until 2014. The committee has not reached any final decisions, however, and will not until it releases its report at the end of August. The committee will hold another public hearing Wednesday in Huntsville.
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