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Less than a year after NASA ended its shuttle program, players in America's space business are casting around for new direction.

United Technologies Corp. is the most recent company to announce it will scale back its role in space exploration. The Hartford conglomerate announced in mid-March it is selling Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, to help raise $3 billion to finance the purchase of aerospace parts maker Goodrich Corp.

Greg Hayes, chief financial officer at United Technologies, says that without a national space policy, growth will be limited at Rocketdyne.

Other companies have shifted business from space exploration while high-profile space travel becomes a commercial venture, including plans by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. to launch a capsule to the space station and a group of wealthy backers hoping to mine asteroids.

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