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Monday, Apr 21st

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You are here News Science NASA's $500 million launcher missing just one thing: the rocket it was made for

NASA's $500 million launcher missing just one thing: the rocket it was made for

Anyone need a $500 million, 355-foot steel tower for launching rockets into space?  There's one available at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Brand new, never been used.

The mobile launcher has been built for a rocket called the Ares 1. The problem is, there is not yet any such thing as an Ares 1 rocket -- and if the Obama administration has its way, there never will be. President Obama's 2011 budget kills that rocket, along with the rest of NASA's Constellation program, the ambitious back-to-the-moon effort initiated under President George W. Bush.

People here were shocked when they heard the news last month. They were already facing the imminent retirement of the aging space shuttle, and the likelihood of thousands of layoffs in the contracting corps but many hoped to find a Constellation job, stay on site and essentially just switch badges.

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