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NASA delays shuttle to test spacecraft

[ 2009-10-21 16:43]     字号 [] [] []  
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NASA is pushing back a space shuttle Atlantis mission to the International Space Station by four days to November 16 so that it can test an experimental rocket, the US space agency said.

The date was to be officially confirmed by mission administrators yesterday during a meeting to evaluate preparations for the Atlantis mission.

The decision to push back the launch is intended to "optimize the agency's ability to launch both Ares I-X and Atlantis before the end of the year," NASA said in a statement.

The Ares I-X is the first test flight for NASA's Ares I - an experimental rocket. NASA said it has scheduled launch opportunities for Ares I-X for October 27, 28 and 29.

A team at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida is in charge of preparations for both the Atlantis and Ares I-X launches.

The Ares I is being developed to carry NASA's new Orion capsules, the replacement spacecraft expected to launch from 2015, after the retirement of the shuttle program.

The development is part of the Constellation program proposed by former president George W. Bush, with the goal of returning men to the moon by 2020 and eventually undertaking manned missions to Mars. The future of the Constellation, at least as originally envisioned, has been thrown into doubt by the findings of a commission of independent experts appointed by President Barack Obama to examine the program.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

NASA delays shuttle to test spacecraft

About the broadcaster:

NASA delays shuttle to test spacecraft

Casey Chin is an intern at the China Daily's website. When he's not shooting or producing videos he's trying to learn Chinese. He's from Sacramento, California (no, he doesn't know Arnold Schwarzenegger) and he just graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in journalism.