The White House has ordered a complete outside review of NASA’s manned space program, including plans to return astronauts to the moon.
Officials want a report from an independent panel by August. White House science adviser John Holdren said Thursday that the new panel will look at the design of new spacecraft to replace the space shuttle and go to the moon, as well as consider possible alternatives to the current design.
Holdren said it will also examine the five-year gap between the shuttle’s retirement and the new moon vehicles, with the first new space capsule flying in 2015.
During that time, starting in late 2010, NASA would have to rely on the Russians for space travel. The review will look at extending NASA’s use of the multibillion-dollar international space station beyond 2016.
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