Can NASA Only Track One Spacecraft?

I was watching the press conference on NASA TV tonight discussing the latest delay on STS-122 that was supposed to have launched yesterday, but now looks like it will launch on Sunday. During the questions from reporters, one asked how many delays could they endure before it impacted the next mission. One of the men on the panel said that basically they had plenty of time before the Feb 14 launch of the next mission. But he also said, “Of course, you can’t launch the next one until this one gets back” (paraphrase). Really? Can NASA only track one spacecraft at a time, or are they just being cautious?

I really wish our space program were father along than it is. We just seem to keep doing the same things, and not really expanding the program. It’s very frustrating. If they really can’t track more than one craft at a time, then it seems like doing anything more than poking along like we are now, running a delivery service for the space station, is all our space program is going to be for a while.

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