NASA chief: Cut space science to fund manned spaceflight

Space science budgets should be sacrificed to speed the deployment of the Crew Exploration Vehicle, the successor to the space shuttle, which is due to be retired in 2010, Dr. Michael D. Griffin told Congress.

Space science budgets should be sacrificed to speed the deployment of the Crew Exploration Vehicle, the successor to the space shuttle, which is due to be retired in 2010, Dr. Michael D. Griffin told the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Science and Space, the New York Times reports. The CEV is currently scheduled for 2014.

While all programs at NASA have been affected by budget restrictions, he said, a big share of the money to ready the new ship had to come from reducing the growth of science programs for a few years, in part by halting some new missions. ... "I believe that fulfilling our commitments on the International Space Station and bringing the Crew Exploration Vehicle online in a timely manner, not later than 2014 and possibly sooner, is a higher priority than these science missions."

The NASA administrator Griffin believes the US can't afford for years to go by with no manned spaceflights, such as happened between the end of the Apollo missions and the start of the space shuttle program. Subcommittee chairwoman Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison agreed, calling the CEV program a "necessity."

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