December 13, 2015

"As NASA focused on the Space Shuttle, the physical infrastructure which supported lunar missions vanished..."

io9 ...No longer were Saturn V rockets manufactured, and unused rockets were turned into museum displays. by Andrew Liptak

'The entire technical and manufacturing apparatus, which has supported both military and civilian operations, had likewise begun to wind down. The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) and its successors began to freeze the numbers of missiles which could be deployed by both the United States and Soviet Union in 1972, and each country largely began to step down their operations. The urgency which fueled the Cold War arms race had begun to cool, and along with it, the support for much of the efforts required to bring people into space and to the Moon.

'Since that time, US Presidents have spoken of their desire to return to the Moon, but often in terms of decades, rather than in single digits. It’s easy to see why: up until recently, US spaceflight operations were focused entirely on Low Earth Orbit activities, as well as admirable cooperative international programs such as the International Space Station, and major scientific instruments such as Mars Pathfinder, Opportunity/Spirit and Curiosity. Other major concerns have redirected US attentions from spaceflight: the United States’ War on Terror, which is expected to cost US taxpayers over $5 trillion dollars in the long run.

'The launch of Orion atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket was exciting to watch, as well as newer players in the space launch field, SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation, which suggesting that a new generation of infrastructure is being constructed. The reasons for visiting the Moon and potentially, other planets and bodies in our solar system, are numerous: they could be the greatest scientific endeavors of our existence, allowing us to further understand the creation of our planet and solar system and the greater world around us.'

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