Despite progress in its effort to retire the space shuttle fleet, NASA is now unlikely to meet its initial September deadline, according to a government report released yesterday.
The 32-page report from NASA’s Office of the Inspector General concludes that it will probably take NASA until the first or second quarter of 2011 to complete the last of the four remaining shuttle flights. The report was released just prior to today’s meeting of NASA directors at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a flight readiness review of the space shuttle Discovery’s upcoming mission to the International Space Station, which has a launch date of April 5.
The inspector general’s report said that while the space agency continues efforts to complete the four remaining shuttle flights by Sept. 30, fulfilling that plan is unlikely.
With the torpedoes recently fired into the belly of the foundering Constellation program, this could almost be seen as good news for the wreckage of the US manned spaceflight program.