Unmanned Japanese Cargo Spacecraft Could Be NASA's Next Space Shuttle

With the dinosaur Space Shuttle set to retire in 2010, and Orion due to be finished (optimistically) by 2015, NASA may purchase the US$131 million unmanned HTV cargo vehicle from JAXA, Japan's space agency, to guarantee fresh shipments of space-Doritos flowing up to the brave souls on the International Space Station. While they had initially planned to fill this gap by relying on commercial space cargo flights by companies like SpaceX, Reuters is reporting that delays in the private-sector space companies have caused NASA to look elsewhere to avoid being crippled by the Shuttle's retirement. [Reuters]

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