It will take Americans to the moon and beyond, but it will look like it came from the 60s. The new space vehicle, the replacement to the shuttle, looks like an old fashioned space capsule.
Michael Griffin, NASA Administrator, says, "The outer mold line is very Apollo-like, except larger; think of it as Apollo on steroids."
Unveiling a bold new plan, NASA Chief Michael Griffin says the new CEV, or Crew Exploration Vehicle, will take America back to the moon by the year 2018.
Just like in hey day of the Apollo moon missions 36 years ago, astronauts will land on and take off from the moon using a separate lunar lander, but this time there will be four astronauts, not two, staying at least a week, not just two or three days.
NASA also claims the CEV will be much safer than the space shuttle. The capsule, by sitting on top of the rockets, will be in front of the fuel tanks that destroyed Challenger and in front of the kind of debris that destroyed Columbia.
NASA's plan the new space capsule wouldn't just go to the moon, it would go beyond to Mars, and so the expense is the wild card.
With $200 billion now needed to rebuild the Gulf, Congress will be more hesitant about spending $100 billion on the moon.