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Unformatted text preview: n its history that has made the space shuttles unreliable. Currently, work on the space shuttle replacement vehicle is underway under the new Constellation program used to return astronauts to the moon. The Ares I and Ares V rockets are a part of the shuttle replacement, along with the Orion spacecraft. Together, the Ares I and the Orion spacecraft plan to return men to the moon in the year 2020. Later, the Ares V rocket plans to send supplies into orbit for future trips to the moon and eventually Mars (“Ares Engine Tests” par. 1-3). In addition to returning men to the moon by 2020, NASA also hopes to advance their robotic exploration of the solar system, including Mars and the moon. With these future robotic missions, the scientists at NASA hope to learn more about the environment and content of each planet or moon. As a result, NASA can use these “scouts” to determine if life could exist, and if men should ever explore the planets. Also, NASA scientists are engineering a Crew Exploration Vehicle used to send astronauts beyond low earth orbit. This has now been a major goal of NASA, along with the Orion-Ares program, since the decision to retire the space shuttles in 2010. Eventually, a Crew Exploration Vehicle can send astronauts into orbit easier, and allow the astronauts to have more control of the spacecraft while in space. This craft would then act more like an airplane flying in space than when the previous shuttles harnessed the gravitational pull from the Earth to stay in orbit (“What does NASA do?” par. 13). Largent 4 Although NASA’s current and future missions and equipment seem extraordinary, the cost to pay for the shuttles, rovers, telescopes, and future programs is an immense burden to the science organization. According to NASA’s Space Shuttle and International Space Station Center, the cost of space shuttle Endeavour, built to replace the Challenger after its destruction in 1981, cost approximately $1.7 billion. In addition, the cost to launch each shuttle into orbit is approximately $450 milli...
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- Three '08