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NASA safety panel endorses Ares 1
Posted: Tue, Jan 19, 2010, 7:33 AM ET (1233 GMT)
Ares 1 launch illustration (NASA) An independent safety panel recommended to NASA that it retain the Ares 1 rocket under development and not extend the shuttle program. The Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) released its 2009 annual report late Friday, and many of its findings dealt with the current state and future of the agency's human spaceflight program. The panel warned that canceling the Ares 1 launch vehicle in favor of an unidentified alternative "is unwise and probably not cost-effective", and that commercial providers would be unable to close the gap in human spaceflight created by the shuttle's retirement. ASAP also found that no commercial operator meets human rating requirements, in part because NASA has defined standards for those companies to meet. The panel also noted it is "very concerned" about a potential extension of the shuttle, because of increased risks as the shuttle ages.
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