NASA's plans to launch new manned missions to the International Space Station three years after the space shuttle retires in 2010 aren't panning out.
Officials at the space agency said Monday that they will still hold to their word that the Constellation program--a mission of the newly developed Ares 1 rocket and Orion crew capsule to the ISS--will happen by March 2015, five years after the space shuttle program shuts down. But a previous goal of an early launch in 2013 has now been moved to 2014 because of budget constraints. NASA officials are also leaving wiggle room there.
"Since the program's inception, NASA has been working an aggressive plan to achieve flight capability before our March 2015 target," Rick Gilbrech, associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA, said in statement. "We are still confident the Constellation Program will make its first flight to the International Space Station on or before that date."
Also on Monday, the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel expressed concerns about the funding of the Constellation program in its 2007 annual report. Among the worries were the "slow pace at which some NASA headquarters decisions are implemented across the 10 NASA centers," it said.