The Fight Over NASA's Future, NY Times
"The Obama transition team, in meetings and requests for information from NASA, contractors and others with a stake in the process, has asked whether increased financing can narrow the five-year flight gap by speeding development of the new spacecraft. The advisers have also asked what the costs and consequences might be of continuing to fly the shuttles for at least one or two additional flights, or even to keep flying them until the next system is ready. The team has also asked whether the development program is truly in trouble and, if so, whether the Ares I should be modified or replaced by rockets used by the Air Force to launch satellites, or the Ariane 5 rocket from Europe. While some involved in developing the rockets have read volumes into the questions, a spokesman for the transition team, Nick Shapiro, said that "the role of the agency review teams is not to make recommendations on any of the issues they are reviewing. They are fact-finding and preparing the full range of options for consideration by the incoming appointees."