Official: NASA Must Evolve Alongside Commercial Spaceflight

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NASA needs to evolve for the future, not get stuck in the past, the agency’s deputy chief said this week.

By Clara Moskowitz, SPACE.com
Senior Writer: Sep 2010

Speaking at an event at Manhattan’s Explorers Club, NASA’s second in command, Lori Garver, said it was time to kick start commercial spaceflight to low-Earth orbit and shift NASA’s focus to more ambitious exploration missions.

“Our space program needs to not be reliving the space program of the past,” she said. “We have been trying to relive Apollo for 40 years now.”

Instead of sending astronauts back to the moon, Garver espoused the new plan put forward by President Barack Obama to pursue trips to an asteroid and Mars. Meanwhile, NASA would try to shift the responsibility for transporting people to the International Space Station to the private sector, which has already made some strides toward commercial spacecraft capable of reaching orbit.

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