Cancellation of the Constellation Program Will Benefit the American Space Program

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NASA has been in the business of sending men and materials into space for more than fifty years. With the introduction of the space shuttle in 1980, however, it has essentially become a transport and shipping company rather than an organization responsible for developing modern technologies to take Americans to Mars and beyond. The space shuttle was a tremendous technological achievement that enabled NASA to send millions of tons of cargo and equipment into low Earth obit, but its successor, the Constellation Program, which relies on rockets and crew capsules much like NASA’s early space programs, represents a step backward in space exploration vehicle design (“Propulsion Systems”, 2003). At this critical time in the American space …show more content…
NASA would no longer function as a delivery company. It would resume its original vision “to explore the Universe and search for new life, and to inspire the next generation of explorers” (“NASA Mission”, 2009).
NASA could be relieved of the routine task of sending astronauts and cargo into space by encouraging private companies to develop the next generation of traditional rockets. Companies, such as Boeing, would be able to do the job more efficiently and at a much lower cost than NASA could (Johnsson, 2010). NASA would be able to commission private companies to build rockets that would suit a particular need much like the various branches of the military do for their own vehicles.
Once routine, commercial space flights become commonplace, NASA would be free to develop the next generation of space exploration vehicles, which would most likely be based on plasma propulsion technology (“Propulsion Systems”, 2003). All of NASA’s manpower and funding could be directed towards researching and perfecting these new systems which would allow man to travel to distant worlds at speeds much greater than is possible today.
Although some may be troubled by the idea of NASA eliminating its current manned space program, the benefits are likely to become more apparent in time. By focusing on the future of space travel, NASA will be able to develop programs