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NASA The Almighty Buck United States Politics

NASA Attempts To Cut Back Constellation 132

FleaPlus writes "In a surprise move in the battle between NASA and certain members of Congress over NASA's future direction, NASA has told its contractors to cut back nearly $1 billion on this year's Ares/Constellation program, stating that the cutback is necessary to remain in compliance with federal spending laws requiring contractors to withhold contract termination costs. While complying with budgeting laws (and in line with NASA's desire to cancel Constellation), this move is also potentially in violation of a 2010 appropriations amendment by Sen. Shelby (R-AL) and Sen. Bennett (R-UT) which prohibits NASA from terminating any Constellation contracts. If NASA's move goes through, the biggest liability is $500M for ATK, the contractor who is/was responsible for the first stage of the Ares I medium-lift rocket."
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NASA Attempts To Cut Back Constellation

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  • Re:Augh. (Score:5, Informative)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @10:48AM (#32535476) Journal
    The cheaper alternatives end at the ISS.

    Boy are you misinformed! DIRECT's [directlauncher.com] plan is for the Moon, Mars, and Near Earth Objects, with commercial craft doing ISS resupply. By making use of the current shuttle systems and infrastructure (as Constellation was *supposed* do do), they eliminate large chunks of costly development. There's no need to develop new engines when there's half a dozen SSMEs in stock and paid for, and an assembly line and trained workers already in place. There's no need to develop new solid boosters when there's already several in stock and an assembly line and trained workers already in place. There's no need to continually having to re-design the Orion crew capsule to make it light enough to fit on an anaemic ARES-I, a Jupiter 130 can carry two fully loaded Orions with payload capacity to spare.

    Constellation would have cost $10billion for ARES-I and $25billion for ARES-V, $35Billion in total. DIRECT would have cost $8billion for the J-130 and $4billion for the upper stage to turn the J-130 into the J-246, a total of only $12Billion.
  • Re:Augh. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday June 11, 2010 @11:51AM (#32536422)

    but you will never see the "Defense Budget" getting fitted for a hair cut. Never. All in the name of "national security".

    Scroll down to figure 1 [cbo.gov] and you will plainly see that defense spending is the budgetary item receiving the biggest cuts over the last 50 years. (Post-9/11 it's grown by about 35% as percent of GDP.)

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972