American space historian Andrew Chaikin recently said that the U.S. Congress should not be designing rockets, but should just let NASA do it. In other words, who has the better rocket scientists? NASA or Congress?
With Obama and Congress still unsure about how NASA should proceed with its manned space program, NASA continues with privately funded companies as a way to transport cargo and astronauts back and forth into space. As of April 2010, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is preparing for its maiden launch from Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 30.
The design of the new NASA rocket that will take astronauts out beyond low-Earth orbit has been selected by the U.S. agency. It’s a whopper, eventually being the most powerful rocket ever built. NASA calls the entire program the Space Launch System.