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Another Step Towards US Astronaut Capability

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NASA Advances Effort to Again Launch Astronauts from U.S. Soil to Space Station

NASA took another step Tuesday to restore an American capability to launch astronauts from U.S. soil to the International Space Station by the end of 2017, subject to the availability of adequate funding. The agency's Commercial Crew Program (CCP) requested proposals from U.S. companies to complete development of crew transportation systems that meet NASA certification requirements and begin conducting crewed flights to the space station.

"NASA is committed to launching American astronauts from U.S. soil in the very near future, and we're taking a significant step toward achieving that goal today," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.

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I still think it's a bit of a National Embarrassment that we ever lost that capability... Of course we have so many National Embarrassments (and so many "friends" ecstatically happy to point them out to us)

that one more probably really doesn't hurt us that much...

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I still think it's a bit of a National Embarrassment that we ever lost that capability...

How quickly people forget (or indeed never knew in the first place)...

If the Commercial Crew Program makes its first launch on time the US will have gone without the capability to launch astronauts from it's own soil for a little under 6 years.

Care to guess how long the US was without the capability to launch astronauts between the last Apollo flight and the first Shuttle flight? It was a little under six years. People didn't make claims of a national embarrassment then, but maybe people actually understood the reason for that hiatus.

The big difference between the end of the Apollo era and the end of the shuttle era is that through this 6 year gap Americans have continued to fly into space. Between July 1975 and April 1981 American stayed firmly attached to the Earth whilst the Russians made tripos to their Salyut space station.

The US is (if Congress doesn't cut the budget too much) going through a chance in manned spaceflight as radical as anything that has gone before. Not only will the NASA have access to LEO but commercial means, three years later it will have the ability to fly into deep space, in ability that no nation other than the US has ever had and which has not existed since the last Apollo moon mission.

National embarrassment? As a non-American I would say that NASA is way down the list of things that should embarrass you.

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