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NASA is facing a fork in the orbit

January 28, 2006

Re "Down-to-Earth choices," editorial, Jan. 22

NASA remains on an overtly unsustainable course by promising to deliver the president's "Vision for Space Exploration" for free. NASA can reinvigorate its manned spaceflight activities while also maintaining its critical commitments to unmanned spaceflight, space-Earth-microgravity science and aeronautics research and development, but only if the president and Congress back the vision rhetoric with a budget increase. The alternative is to fund the vision by retiring the space shuttle after a Hubble Space Telescope repair mission, and either canceling or postponing International Space Station completion until after the development of NASA's new fleet of spacecraft.

There is a clear fork in the road ahead. As history has proved, driving straight up the middle simply to keep political interests happy is a formula for disaster.



International Federation of

Professional & Technical Engineers

Silver Spring, Md.


NASA's continuing bone-headedness in sticking with the space shuttle is baffling. It never should have been built. It's never been safe, clearly, and its total operating costs are, well, astronomical. All for what? Even the Hubble could have been positioned without the shuttle. For the time being, if we need a man in space, let's cut our losses and just hire the Russians; I hear they're available.


Sun Valley

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