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NASA report concludes HLV can't be built on current schedule and budget
Posted: Thu, Jan 13, 2011, 6:04 AM ET (1104 GMT)
Ares 5 illustration (NASA) A NASA report to Congress this week concluded that the space agency cannot build a new heavy-lift launch vehicle within the budget and by the deadline set by Congress in authorization legislation last week. The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 instructed NASA to start work on the "Space Launch System", a heavy-lift vehicle that would replace the Ares 5 rocket planned under Constellation, with the requirement that the vehicle be ready by the end of 2016 and be able to place at least 70 tons into low Earth orbit. A 90-day report delivered to Congress this week by NASA outlined the baseline plan for that vehicle, based on the space shuttle external tank with five space shuttle main engines and two five-segment solid rocket boosters. However, the report concluded that such a vehicle can't be built by that date under the budget levels for the program also included in the authorization act. Members of the Senate Commerce Committee responded Wednesday with a statement reminding NASA that meeting the deadline for the heavy-lift rocket "is not optional" and that the committee believes that NASA can build such a rocket "affordably and efficiently".
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