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Barack Obama's White House wants to cancel both Ares rockets. Under its new plan, commercial space taxis would be used to ferry astronauts to the space station. A so-called heavy-lift rocket with similar capabilities to the Ares V would be developed to fly astronauts to asteroids and ultimately to Mars, but that costly effort would not begin until 2015.
But many members of Congress, which will have to approve the White House's new plan for it to proceed, have been sceptical of the proposed change in course. They fear that the heavy-lift rocket is being pushed too far into the future, delaying NASA's return to human space exploration.
Now it seems Congress will try to tweak the plan so that NASA starts work on that rocket much sooner. Florida senator Bill Nelson, who chairs a Senate committee that oversees NASA policy, has sent a letter to Maryland senator Barbara Mikulski, who chairs the Senate committee that sets NASA's budget, recommending that work begin on the heavy lifter in 2011.