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  • ISRO scientists unfurl antenna of RISAT-2BR1 satellite:-Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Thursday undertook an operation to unfurl the antenna that was inside the radar imaging earth observation satellite RISAT-2BR1, a day after it was launched from Sriharikota, around 130 kms from here....
  • US Congress consents to designate India's NAVIC as allied system:-The US Congress has consented to designate India's NAVIC as its allied navigational satellite system along with the Galileo of the European Union and QZSS of Japan....
  • US tests ballistic missile over Pacific:-The United States tested a medium-range ballistic missile on Thursday, the second test in four months of an offensive missile that would have been banned by a US-Russia arms treaty that Washington exited in August....
  • GRSE hands over LCU amphibious ship to Indian Navy:-Adding to the country's maritime security prowess, warship builder Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) has delivered a Landing Craft Utility (LCU) to the Indian Navy, GRSE said here on Thursday....

To the moon, NASA? Not on this budget, experts say

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Concept of a future moon landing. Image Credit: NASA

WASHINGTON (PTI): NASA will test the powerful first stage of its new Ares moon rocket on Thursday, a milestone in a program that already has spent USD 7 billion for a rocket that astronauts may never use.

When that first stage is tested, it will be mounted horizontally. The engine will fire, shake and make a lot of noise. But by design, it will not leave the ground. The same could be said for NASA's plans to go to the moon, Mars or beyond Earth orbit. It's not so much a physical challenge for engineers as it is a financial challenge for budgeteers.

The USD 108 billion program to return to the moon by 2020 was started five years ago by then-President George W Bush.

But a special independent panel commissioned by President Barack Obama concluded that the plan cannot work on the existing budget schedule because it probably will cost at least an extra USD 30 billion through 2020.

Even NASA's soon-to-be-retired space shuttle fleet has proved that getting off the ground is not a given, with two launch scrubs this week of a mission to the international space station.

The space station finally is finished. Yet NASA's long-standing plans call for junking the outpost in about seven years. If the agency keeps that schedule, it would mean that in the next decade NASA's astronauts could be going nowhere if there is no moon mission.

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