President wants no return to moon

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is essentially grounding plans to return astronauts to the moon and instead is sending NASA in new directions with roughly $6 billion more.

A White House official confirmed Thursday that when next week’s budget is proposed, NASA will get an additional $5.9 billion over five years, as first reported in Florida newspapers. Some of that money will be used to extend the life of the International Space Station to 2020. The official said it also will be used to entice companies to build private spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the space station after the space shuttle retires.

An aide to an elected official who was told of the plans said Obama is basically ending the return-to-the-moon effort pushed by President George W. Bush. So far, that effort has cost $9.1 billion.

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