NASA delays asteroid redirect mission one year

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NASA has decided to delay by one year the planned launch dates for both its unmanned and manned missions to an asteroid.

And why might you ask?

Mr. Gerstenmaier further stated that “We had trouble getting the funding together for this thing. So this slip of the one year that you see wasn’t caused by technical. It was really caused by budget availability. We just didn’t have the budget available to go do this.”

Also, the article notes that the launch rocket for the unmanned mission, now set for 2021, will be one of three possible rockets.

No elaboration was given as to what those “three rockets” are, though SLS, one of SpaceX’s Falcon family of rockets, and Atlas V are understood to be the prime contenders at this time.

The unmanned mission might happen (though I wouldn’t bet on it). As for the manned mission, there is a reason NASA has had trouble getting funding. SLS/Orion cost too much. Congress simply doesn’t want to spend that much for the actual missions. They will dole out a lot of cash for development (and the pork that goes with it), but even they can’t afford the gigantic budgets NASA needs to actually fly real missions.


  • Localfluff

    Is there any news on how it’s going with this bill in the House Appropriations Committee, proposing to cancel ARM and get a Moon program?

  • Gealon

    And let’s face it, NASA hasn’t really flown a mission since the last shuttle flight. (Station doesn’t count since it doesn’t go anywhere or do anything.) They’re a little out of practice and need some extra grea$e to get the gears moving.

  • wodun

    Quick skim didn’t say what time period they were having funding issues. Are they having problems this year or four years from now? If it is a projection of funding levels four years from now, they should have just continued on course. There are a lot of uncertainties from year to year much less four years out but one thing is certain, if they were gearing up for a major launch and had all of their ducks in a row, congress would bump their budget.

    If money is a problem right now, then they need to explain why they can’t get their work done with the budget increases NASA has been getting for SLS.

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