NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said on Tuesday that he believes the whole shuttle and space station projects have been a mistake. He said that since the 70's and the retirement of the Apollo missions that NASA has not chosen the right path. The shuttles are due to retire in 2010.
Last week NASA unveiled plans to make another moon mission by 2018 (more images of proposed moon mission project Re-Tread).
Whoo 2018, we're really on the ball aren't we? I wasn't alive during the first landing and I'll be nearing 50 when this thing gets off the ground. Let's hope privatized space flight gets off the ground in a big way so we can actually get something done.
In a meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board, Griffin said NASA lost its way in the 1970s, when the agency ended the Apollo moon missions in favor of developing the shuttle and space station, which can only orbit Earth.
"It is now commonly accepted that was not the right path," Griffin said. "We are now trying to change the path while doing as little damage as we can."
He told the Senate earlier this year that the shuttle was "deeply flawed" and that the space station was not worth "the expense, the risk and the difficulty" of flying humans to space.
Asked Tuesday whether the shuttle had been a mistake, Griffin said, "My opinion is that it was. ... It was a design which was extremely aggressive and just barely possible." Asked whether the space station had been a mistake, he said, "Had the decision been mine, we would not have built the space station we're building in the orbit we're building it in."
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