Some NASA boosters question need for new rocket

Nasa Boosters
By month’s end, NASA plans to present Congress with a design for a new rocket that one day could take astronauts to the moon or beyond.

Several options are on the table, including one that recycles key parts of the space shuttle, set to retire in July. But as engineers ponder designs, even some NASA boosters are posing a deeper question:

Why even build it?

With Congress struggling to control spending, critics are wondering whether the country needs a new spaceship that lacks both a mission and destination except for occasional trips to the International Space Station.

"I don’t think we need it. I don’t think we can afford to operate it. I think it will be rarely used and expensive to maintain," said Alan Stern, a former NASA associate administrator. "The most likely possibility is that it (the rocket) is unfortunately going to collapse under its own weight in a couple years."

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