As NASA’s priorities change over time, missions are phased out or cancelled. These cancelled missions often represent years of work and millions of dollars of development. Despite their cancellation, these programs were a source of technological innovation and encompass many important capabilities NASA has developed over the years. The programs represented on this portal – the Space Shuttle, and Constellation– are highlighted due to their importance to NASA’s overall vision and the technological advances they represent.
This section of the Space Portal features Constellation, the program central to the United States vision of returning astronauts to the Moon by 2020. Constellation consisted of two major parts: Orion, which would serve as the crew vehicle and support craft for space travel, and Ares, the launch vehicle that would propel the Orion vehicle to Low Earth Orbit and beyond. Funding for Contellation was cut in 2010, beginning the cancellation of the program. The program experienced many difficulties – it was over budget, behind schedule, and lacking critical technologies. Despite the cancellation of Constellation, NASA is still working towards technology solutions that will allow for US human spaceflight. This topic is explored further in the Commercial Space section of the Portal.
Dawnbreaker staff has compiled a concise report on the Constellation program. This document contains information on the mission, technology behind Constellation, NASA and industry key players, and the fate of valuable components of the program. View the report by clicking here.
Margaret Rich & Eliza Brannigan (December 2010)