reply to post by Mikeyy
Well -- you're not really derailing the thread that much, because it really does come down to money.
In the 1960s, the Apollo program was the #1 priority (or among the top priorities) of the United States. NASA and its contractors had a HUGE budget
and a HUGE workforce. The yearly budget for the Constellation Program today is much, much smaller -- therefore less can get done in the same period
...And the second most important reason that the Constellation Program is taking longer to get us to the Moon than the Apollo program is that the
of the Constellation Program is much different than Apollo.
Apollo's first and foremost goal was to get to
the Moon...that's it...just "Get There" (and of course get back). However, The
Constellation program has much high goals rather than just "stepping on the Moon". The hardware being developed for Constellation is being
developed to create an infrastructure that will hopefully one day get us to Mars.
The Constellation program consists of TWO different launch vehicles -- the Ares I, Ares V (and there is even now and Ares IV -- so that's technically
3 launch vehicles). The Ares I is designed to launch the new Orion Crew capsule to orbit -- to later go to the Moon or to the space station (the
configuration of lunar version of the Orion will be different that the Low Earth Orbit version), while the Ares V is designed to launch the heavy
stuff into orbit, such as the equipment that will go to the moon after docking with the Orion Crew Vehicle. It may also launch large pieces of
Equipment to the Moon to act as Lunar bases which will be the precursor to manned missions to Mars.
The Ares V will also hopefully play a big role in that future (but yet unfunded) manned missions to Mars. Ares V can lift large amounts of equipment
into orbit and beyond -- much more so that the Space Shuttle or the Saturn V could. That heavy-lifting capability will be important when assembling a
manned Mars vehicle.
So...there are two main reasons it's taking us longer to get to the Moon:
1. Smaller yearly budgets (by far)
2. More ambitious mission goals
So it really isn't a mystery that it is taking longer.
[edit on 6/30/2009 by Soylent Green Is People]