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NASA Advisory Council expresses skepticism about OSP
Posted: Sun, Mar 23, 2003, 3:51 PM ET (2051 GMT)
Orbital Space Plane illustration (NASA) An outside committee that advises NASA said last week that they believe plans to pursue the Orbital Space Plane (OSP) could be a step backwards for the space agency, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The NASA Advisory Council, meeting last week at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, grilled a NASA official who outlined the agency's plans for OSP, a spacecraft that could be launched from expendable boosters to ferry crews and supplies to the International Space Station (ISS) and also serve as a crew return vehicle for ISS. Committee members called the OSP a "maintenance plan" and "life-extension program" for the agency, rather than an effort to develop new technology and expand human spaceflight. John "Row" Rogacki, NASA's associate administrator for aerospace, defended the OSP, saying it provided an alternate means for servicing the ISS should the shuttle be grounded again in the future. When asked by council member John Glenn why NASA doesn't build another shuttle to replace Columbia, Rogacki said the agency didn't want to be depended on a single transportation system, but also said the option of building a replacement shuttle was still being discussed.
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