NASA to Realign Constellation Program Milestones

Press Release From: NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate
Posted: Monday, August 11, 2008


WASHINGTON -- In a news conference Monday, NASA managers discussed how the agency will be adjusting the budget, schedule and technical performance milestones for its Constellation Program to ensure the first crewed flight of the Ares I rocket and Orion crew capsule in March 2015.

The Constellation Program is developing the spacecraft and systems, including the Ares I and Ares V rockets, the Orion crew exploration vehicle, and the Altair lunar lander, that will take astronauts to the International Space Station after the retirement of the space shuttle, and eventually return humans to the moon.

"Since the program's inception, NASA has been working an aggressive plan to achieve flight capability before our March 2015 target," said Rick Gilbrech, associate administrator for the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We are still confident the Constellation Program will make its first flight to the International Space Station on or before that date. Our new path forward better aligns our project schedules with our existing funds to ensure we can address the unplanned challenges that always arise when developing a complex flight system."

NASA will retire the space shuttles in 2010 and had established a goal of achieving flight capability for the Constellation Program before 2015 to narrow the gap in America's human spaceflight capability. As such, NASA aligned Constellation contracts and internal milestones against a date much earlier than March 2015 to incentivize an earlier flight capability.

As part of an annual budget process that evaluates the program's budget, schedule and technical performance milestones, NASA will be working with its contractors to discuss how program plans and internal milestones should be adjusted -- a process that will take several months and require contract modifications and associated milestone realignments. Such adjustments are not unusual for a complex development program as work matures and schedules and resources are aligned.

For more information about the Constellation Program, visit:

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