Space Program's Future

Should the U.S. continue to support manned space exploration?


The cloud over the U.S. space program recently lifted when astronauts aboard the shuttle Endeavour repaired the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. Just days later, Russia's partnership in the U.S.-led space station project was formalized by a contract signed in Moscow. The two events may help restore NASA's morale and signal a fundamental change in its philosophy. Cooperation, rather than superpower confrontation, may be the guiding principle of future space policy. Some experts feel multinational space ventures will enhance global amity, but others foresee difficulties of the “too many cooks” variety. But whatever NASA decides to do, it must deal with a Congress that is increasingly skeptical of “big science” projects like the space station. GRAPHICS: Photo.

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