NASA image via Wikimedia Commons.
We could be without a human lift vehicle for up to a decade.
(PHYSORG)- Once the US space shuttle program closes, it will be about a decade before America can make a new vehicle for sending astronauts to space, NASA's chief technologist predicts.
When the longtime centerpiece of US spaceflight shutters later this year, NASA will focus on experiments at the International Space Station (ISS) and on partnerships with private industry to build new spacecraft, Robert Braun told AFP in an interview this week.
But with spending squeezed and NASA at odds with lawmakers over a 2016 timeframe for building a new heavy-lift rocket and crew vehicle to replace the 30-year-old shuttle program, Braun said that developing the future mode of travel could take longer than Congress, or the US public, may want to hear.