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Space Program to Be Reviewed; Shuttle Decision Again Delayed

July 12, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Top Administration officials will meet early next week to review the future of the troubled space program, but a decision on replacing Challenger has again been delayed, White House spokesman Larry Speakes said Friday.

He said the meeting will deal with a report by NASA Administrator James C. Fletcher to President Reagan on steps that the space agency is taking to implement recommendations issued by the commission headed by William P. Rogers that investigated the Challenger disaster.

A decision by Reagan on a new space shuttle to replace Challenger has been delayed again and is not expected for at least two more weeks, Speakes said. Reagan was close to a decision in May, but the issue has been complicated by questions of how to come up with more than $2 billion needed to build the new orbiter.

Broader Questions

Not only will next week's meeting of senior officials review actions that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is taking to strengthen the shuttle program, but Speakes said it will also look at broader questions facing NASA.

White House officials are expected to evaluate the balance between civilian manned and unmanned space flights, the use of shuttles to launch commercial satellites and the need for additional unmanned rockets to supplement the shuttle fleet.

Riding on the fate of NASA's proposal for a new shuttle is the future of the agency's $8-billion space station program. Fletcher has said that a fourth shuttle will be needed to allow the agency to meet the 1994 target date set by Reagan for a working space station.

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