CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., April 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. space program will see a retargeting under plans from President Barack Obama although not all of the changes are being greeted warmly.
The most notable criticism came in a form of an open letter from Apollo-era astronauts Gene Cernan, Jim Lovell and first-man-on-the moon Neil Armstrong, who termed Obama's expected cancellation of the Constellation program "devastating."
Constellation was started during the Bush administration with a goal to develop spacecraft that could carry humans to the moon and perhaps Mars.
But the Obama administration deems the program behind schedule and over budget and is expected to scrape much of the plan, except aspects regarding rocket design to enable humans to reach deep space. The White House describes the Obama plan as "bold and daring."
That includes a five-year, $3.1 billion plan to develop a rocket, the design of which is to be chosen by 2015, to get humans beyond the moon.
He also predicted his program will give the United States a home-grown way to get back into space -- the space shuttle is to be retired this year -- sooner than Constellation while creating jobs for the space industry.