Thank you for publishing Jonathan Penn’s recent Viewpoint “NASA’s Plan Is Not Sustainable,” (AW&ST Dec. 6, p. 74). The pull quote that accompanied it: “Manned missions beyond the Moon are not practical with today’s chemical rocket propulsion. NASA should return to prominence its role as developer of new technologies” sums up the problem. Manned missions beyond the Moon will never be “practical” with chemical rocket propulsion. Chemical rockets already operate within 10% of their ...
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