NASA advisers claim Obama plans to scrap NASA's Ares program, the successor to the Space Shuttle. The advisers say President-Elect Obama's transition team demands deep cuts from NASA, and is investigating whether old Delta IV and Atlas V military rockets could be used instead of Ares.
NASA plans a permanent moon base by 2020, followed by a manned mission to Mars; plans which the agency says require Ares.
The Space Shuttle is due to make its last flight in 2010. Without a replacement, NASA may be without a manned space capability entirely, for the first time since the 1960s, a gap that NASA says would destroy the U.S.'s primacy in space technology.
Prior news reports have hinted at a great deal of tension between Obama's team and NASA, a report that NASA Administrator Michael Griffon has denied.
On the campaign trail, Obama blew both hot and cold on plans for NASA's budget. In the NASA-friendly states of Texas and Florida, he promised to expand NASA's budget by more than 10%. In other states, however, he promised cuts and delays to the agency, in order to help fund his education policies.