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NASA constellation programme delayed

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WASHINGTON (BNS): NASA announced that the date of the first manned launch of the Orion space craft has slipped a year from September, 2013 to September 2014, and the date of Orion's first manned launch is still March, 2015.

"The window of opportunity for us to accelerate Orion (for a 2013 flight) has closed," said Orion program manager Jeff Hanley, speaking during the same conference call.

NASA had been hoping to launch Orion on its first mission in September 2013.

NASA managers discussed the Constellation Programme that will take the first crewed flight of the Ares I rocket and Orion crew capsule in March 2015, at a news conference, in Washington, on Monday.

As part of an annual budget process that evaluates the programme's budget, schedule and technical performance milestones, NASA will be working with its contractors to discuss how programme plans and internal milestones should be adjusted. It has been stated that adjustments are not unusual for a complex development programme as work schedules and resources are synchronized.

Exhibiting lot of confidence, Gilberch said, “We are still confident the Constellation Programme will make its first flight to the International Space Station on or before March 2015. Our new path forward better aligns our project schedules with our existing funds to ensure we can address the unplanned challenges that always arise when developing a complex flight system."

The Constellation Programme is developing the spacecraft and systems, including the Ares I and Ares V rockets, the Orion crew exploration vehicle, and the Altair lunar lander, that will take astronauts to the International Space Station after the Space Shuttle is taken off flight duty. It will also take humans to the moon.

Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, at NASA in Washington, Rick Gilberch said that since the beginning of the programme, NASA had been working aggressively to achieve the flight capability before the target date of March 2015.

NASA will pull out Space Shuttles from operations in 2010 and to meet that goal they are closer to achieving flight capability for the Constellation Programme before 2015.

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