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I was reading in the news that NASA was testing sending humans beyond the earth's orbit (higher than 200 miles I think ), so the test was this program and they were happy because it succeeded to send an unmanned vehicle to 3200 miles, so I started wondering, if they had already sent a human to the moon why they were re-inventing the wheel? How could they send a human to 250000 km if they are happy to make him reach 5000 km?

Any thought?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by ForgeMonkey, Rory Alsop, Stu, HDE 226868, TildalWave Dec 9 '14 at 20:29

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The Apollo program was extremely expensive. After the American government felt they had achieved the aims of the program - which was ultimately meant to assure their superiority in space to avoid a military confrontation there with Russia - they cancelled the program. No more Saturn rockets were made after that, and no more modules designed for human deep space missions.

It isn't that they haven't before, it is that they stopped for a long time.

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  • $\begingroup$ So why not build Saturn V's again? Why develop a new rocket and spacecraft? The SLS / Orion development programs certainly can't cost less than the unit cost of building more Saturn Vs and Apollo spacecraft which are already designed, tested, and proven. $\endgroup$ – dotancohen Dec 9 '14 at 16:06
  • $\begingroup$ @dotancohen a good question to ask. $\endgroup$ – Jerard Puckett Dec 9 '14 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ Good idea! $\endgroup$ – dotancohen Dec 9 '14 at 16:22
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They were happy because Orion is a new design. It's the natural reaction of a design team seeing its creation in action for the first time. You will see the same reaction at the first flight of a new aircraft, even if that first flight does not do anything really new. So their happiness is no evidence of anything.

Orion isn't reinventing the wheel, it is designed for far more ambitious missions than landing on the Moon: Orion is designed to go to Mars and/or to asteroids.

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