But the space program is a long-term investment in our future. We must deal with our short-term problems while not sacrificing our long-term investments in our future. When we have a hurricane, we don't cancel the Air Force. We don't cancel the Navy. And we're not going to cancel NASA.
The $104 billion price tag, leading up to an initial four-person lunar landing and spread over 13 years, represents 55 percent of what the Apollo program would cost in today's dollars, Griffin said. Apollo development spanned eight years, from 1961 to the first manned moon landing in 1969.
The new space vehicle design uses shuttle rocket parts, an Apollo-style capsule and a lander capable of carrying four people to the moon. The rockets - there would be two, a small version for people and a heftier one for cargo - would eclipse the 18-story space shuttle. The larger one, in fact, would come close to the 36-story Saturn 5 moon rocket.
They would be built from shuttle booster rockets, fuel tanks and main engines, as well as moon rocket engines. The so-called crew exploration vehicle perched on top would look very much like an Apollo capsule, albeit larger.