End of the Space Shuttle Program

16 June 2010

Professor Iver Cairns has recently featured on a SBS short program "End of the Space Shuttle Program".

Professor Cairns, who is a space physicist based within the University of Sydney's School of Physics, works with NASA on a regular basis and is Chair of Australia's National Committee for Space Science.

On a recent visit to the School as a guest of Professor Cairns, NASA's Dr William Gertsenmaier announced that the space shuttle program will be ending as the Obama administration wants NASA to develop new programs in space science. Dr Gerstenmaier heads NASA's program for human exploration of space and has programmatic oversight for the international space station, space shuttle, space communications, and space launch vehicles.

With memories of the space shuttle Challenger disaster, which occurred on 28 January 1986 and led to the deaths of its seven crew members, Professor Cairns says the cost of improving the safety of the shuttles and trying to protect people within the shuttle should it malfunction has caused the cost of the space shuttle program to significantly increase.

In the program Professor Cairns, who was interviewed by SBS journalist, Ron Sutton, says Australia is well positioned to play a significant part in the new direction of international space exploration. These include hypersonic flight, which features heavily in the podcast, and space physics.

To listen to the seven-minute podcast visit:

Contact: Alison Muir

Phone: 02 9036 5194

Email: 291a2f261c071b5942261b77462d215c3417671f1014012e30