Obama Will Face Shuttle Dilemma
NASA to transition team: We have a problem
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2008 6:37 AM CST
A model of the Orion Crew Space Exploration Vehicle, right, the next-generation human spacecraft, is displayed during a ceremony at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.    (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)
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(Newser) – America's aging space shuttle fleet will pose some tough questions for Barack Obama, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Bush administration has recommended the shuttle be mothballed by 2010. To avoid leaving a potentially crippling 5-year gap in America's manned space flight program, Obama's NASA team will need to decide whether to extend the shuttle’s life or speed up production of its replacement.

Bush's plan calls for the US to use Russian launches for transportation to the International Space Station while the shuttle's Orion successor is developed, but Obama has said he wants to reduce reliance on Russia. NASA chief Michael Griffin has reportedly clashed with transition team members, and the friction is expected to increase if the team decides to use funds earmarked for Orion to keep the shuttle flying longer.