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How NASA Works

Future NASA Projects
space shuttle
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images
Flying the space shuttle safely until its retirement is one of NASA's goals for the future.

According to NASA's Strategic Plan and Vision for Space Exploration, NASA is directing its efforts to the following goals:

  1. Fly the space shuttle as safely as possible until its retirement in 2010
  2. Complete the International Space Station according to NASA's commitments
  3. Broaden its programs in science and aeronautics, while focusing the human spaceflight endeavors on exporation
  4. Develop , build and fly a new Crew Exploration Vehicle (Project Orion) with its launch vehicles (Ares) by 2014
  5. Develop and expand partnerships with private industries
  6. Develop a program to return humans to the moon, establish a lunar base and pursue subsequent exploration of Mars and other destinations

­The history of NASA has shown that it can do amazing things. But history has also shown that NASA needs strong presidential leadership, strong leadership within NASA, public support, and congressional funding. NASA has the infrastructure in place for leadership, to obtain its scientific and technical goals and to inform and educate the public. NASA will continue to do amazing things in aviation and space exploration.

On the next page, we'll take a look at some of the criticisms NASA has faced.