Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bolden sticking by cancellation of Constellation

Our Washington correspondent Bart Jansen reports ...

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden insisted Tuesday that the Constellation program was too expensive to pursue, as he faced another House grilling about the agency's budget.

Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va., the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on science, asked Bolden why the administration would discard the Constellation program of returning to the moon after spending $9 billion on it.

"Why is this drastic step proposed?" Mollohan asked.

But Bolden said Constellation wouldn't have reached the moon before 2030. Even then, he said the Ares rocket and Orion capsule wouldn't have had a way to return from the moon’s surface because that facet of the program hasn’t been budgeted.

"I just couldn't in good conscience recommend that to the president," Bolden said.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., asked Bolden to reply to a congressional request for alternatives to keep American access to the International Space Station, rather than relying on Russian rockets after the retirement of the shuttle this year.

"We are unable to do that," Bolden said. In terms of compromising on a budget, Bolden said, "There is no alternative budget. There is no plan B."

Mollohan asked why the country couldn’t simply stretch out funding for Constellation.

But Bolden also warned that pouring another $45 billion to $60 billion into Constellation to reach the moon would starve research programs of funding.

Bolden argued that NASA’s Ares rockets would be costlier to reach the space station than the commercial industry could provide. He hoped to save NASA funding by reducing $600 million to $700 million in overhead supporting Ares.

"It's too early to say, but I believe that," Bolden said of savings compared to industry.

His goal is to develop a versatile capsule that could sit atop a variety of commercial rockets.

When Mollohan asked whether Constellation was wasted money, Bolden replied that benefits included dextrous robots, rovers and other research.

"We have received incredible returns," Bolden said. "I wouldn’t call it a waste."

President Barack Obama proposed to boost NASA funding $6 billion over five years, in the budget starting Oct. 1. He would increase research at the International Space Station and rely on commercial rockets to ferry people there.

But the budget provoked bipartisan outrage in Congress among lawmakers who prefer to keep human spaceflight aboard NASA rockets.

Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, D-Md., said NASA changes occurred too quickly. He said proposing $3 billion over five years to develop a heavy-lift rocket to carry people beyond the space station.

"I’m concerned that we don’t have a roadmap," he said. "Commercial will not get us to the moon. Commercial won’t get us to Mars."

Wolf cited criticism from former NASA administrators and astronauts who called the budget "disastrous" and that it would "accelerate a downward spiral" for the agency.

When Wolf asked whether the United States or China would get to the moon soonest, Bolden said it didn’t matter because it would be a return trip.

"It matters to me," Wolf said. "People don’t get in line to get autographs of the land rover."

As Congress debates the budget, Obama scheduled an April 15 space summit in Florida to discuss his proposal with experts.

45 comments:

Nelson Bridwell said...

Good coverage, Bart!

Anonymous said...

I watched it... the appropriations committee can see right through this bad proposal. This is one of the first times I've seen so much opposition to a president's proposal. There is very little support for it.

Anonymous said...

As a Tax Payer, I feel great about NASA using billions in taxes on a program like Constellation. However, regarding the proposed budget, as a Tax Payer I feel that those Billions are being wasted on a useless agency.

This feeling I have about the uselessness of the proposed NASA program will be the feeling that grips the nation and the one that sees NASA start a downward spiral.

Anonymous said...

Why would he not stick by the cancellation? It's the educated thing to do. Canceling a failed program for one with a better chance of success sounds like a good idea to me.

Anonymous said...

this guy is a liar like his boss

Anonymous said...

in 1969 we put a man on the moon. we used computers that had less memory that my cell phone. it is now 2010 and we cannot or will not send a person out of leo. is our goverment hiding the fact that a human never been on the moon?

Anonymous said...

It would figure, he's an Obama buddy. His son's name is Che, can we guess what sort of government Mr. Bolden prefers?

Anonymous said...

No Comments, really? I only pointed out that Mr. Bolden is going to support Obamma's plan whether it is a good one or not. I also pointed out that his son's first name is Che, which makes the point that maybe the fears of socialism and or communism are not misplaced...I could be wrong of course.

Anonymous said...

TOTAL WASTE OF TIME ANY REPLY PLAYS ON DEFT EARS

Anonymous said...

Bolden is just an Obama puppet and a useful idiot of the far left wing that wants to destroy every American institution that represents American exceptionalism.

This is why I want Obama to fail, because if he succeeds, then America's great institutions will be destroyed and America will fail.

Mark Lopa said...

Bolden is trying to destroy NASA from the inside out, just as his boss is doing to the country as a whole. I just hope the amount of damage he can do is minimal before he's gone in January 2013.

Anonymous said...

Bolden is a good soldier and only taking orders. I believe he is lying when he says that this is his proposal and that he took it to Obama. Its a Garver plan that she has been working on since she was told to shut up by the former administrator because she does not have a technical background. Its her way of getting revenge and pushing her agenda to further her political career. She and the science advisor are going to turn NASA into a global climate change research agency. The moon plans will die a quiet death over the next decade as the research funding is pushed more towards this true agenda. Ten to twenty years from now when we wake up and realize what we had a let go maybe we will start again. Maybe my great or great great grandchildren will see us go back to the moon and on to mars. I don't think we will see it in our adult lifetimes now. Very Very Sad!!!

Conor said...

"Bolden argued that NASA’s Ares rockets would be costlier to reach the space station than the commercial industry could provide."
That was never in dispute, and irrelevant. Ares I was designed to support manned missions beyond Earth orbit. The one or two planned flights to the ISS were test flights. NASA always planned to use commercial vehicles for the ISS,
Constellation was all about leaving Earth orbit, not necessarily going to the Moon. Cancel that, and you aren't going anywhere.
Obama is going to discuss it with experts? Why hasn't he already done that in the year he's spent dithering about it?

Anonymous said...

what a shame. i hated to see this happen

Anonymous said...

I find it odd that NASA invented the idea of this type of rocket and now they can't stand behind there idea. Time has come to get rid of NASA. It appears on the surface to be vary political.

Anonymous said...

If the constellation is being cancelled. Keep flying the shuttle. Even if it may take a year or so to get more tanks. The whole purpose i thought of retiring the shuttle was for constellation funding. So if no constellation funding. Keep the shuttle. No?

Anonymous said...

Exactly right, Obama's puppet. Che indeed.

Anonymous said...

Let's tell Obama Martians need health care to. But first, on mars, we must set up IRS offices and review panels, before we can launch our mission.

Anonymous said...

What most people never want to see is that in 1969 the government was speding almost 5% of it's budget on funding for the space program. Adjusted for inflation that's over $30 billion a year. Now NASA is lucky to get $9 billion to send someone back to the moon. If the government is really interested in turning around the economy then we need to stop forcing space travel on NASA and start providing incentives to private industry.

Anonymous said...

Bolden is just proving to be another lapdog for B.O. His facts about returning to the moon no earlier than 2030 are factually incorrect and he knows it. Bolden has no ideas of his own. Call B.O. for your next marching order.

Stephen C. Smith said...

Just because $9 billion was spent going in the wrong direction doesn't mean you spend more to keep going in that same wrong direction, hoping you'll magically find your way to your destination.

The $9 billion is money spent. Time to turn around, go back and head in the right direction.

I watched most of the hearing. The Congresscritters pontificated about the sanctity of America's space program, but when they got down to the questioning all they really cared about were the jobs and contracts in their districts. Apparently "America's space program" to them is defined as government pork.

www.spaceksc.com

Anonymous said...

He is a realist following the advice of a panel of experts. Not many of those on this board.

Anonymous said...

Wow, we went to the moon supposedly 40 years ago using Saturn V rockets. Why can't we replicate that feat now with much more efficient technology? They went to the moon in just a few years, yet now it's going to take 20+ years? Something's wrong with that picture. Makes you wonder if we really did.

However, if the previous moon landings were indeed Hollywood at it's finest, which would have required the silence of hundreds or even thousands, surely somebody would have spilled the beans for big $$$ by now these past 40 years??? Or is this another big cover-up from the Kennedy era of grand cover-ups?

Anonymous said...

His sons first name is not Che, it is Anthony. His full name is Anthony Che Bolden and he is a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps. Sounds like a real commie to me!

FLBikerchick said...

8:51 post: On the surface it appears to be very political, so let's just scrap it? That's a great solution! Let's just scrap any program that ON THE SURFACE APPEARS to be unpleasant, politicized, useless, whatever. Why bother actually studying the issue or maybe even doing 15 seconds of research on Google? That would be way too much effort.

"The Congresscritters pontificated about the sanctity of America's space program, but when they got down to the questioning all they really cared about were the jobs and contracts in their districts."

Wow, members of Congress actually doing what their constituents elected them to do? I didn't think those existed any more.

Anonymous said...

Didn't say his sons a commie....just interesting that he named his child after a communist revolutionary.

Gaetano Marano said...

.
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France has ordered 14 Soyuz carrier rockets from Russia (for only $1 billion) to launch from Kourou:
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http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=120479&sectionid=351020603
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so, MY suggestion to Launch the Soyuz from KSC is a GREAT IDEA to FILL the 6-10 years US spaceflight GAP and SAVE up to $20 billion to invest in the development of an HLV for lunar missions:
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http://www.newspaceagency.com/articles/05soyuzfromksc.html
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Anonymous said...

Let's keep pushing for gains in science and math, but give these kids nowhere to go, because we have robots and rovers. Unacceptable.....

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem is that the Constellation project was grossly under funded from the start. And it would take a massive input of funds to make it work in a timely matter. I wonder where all those billions that could have helped this project from the start went?? Oh that's right. We were fighting terrorism in Iraq. Bushes follies doomed this project from the start.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how much arm twisting will be done to get this through. That is why our country is where it is at today. Too much coming in to the country and not much going out. Our imports (including oil) far exceed our imports. I think Obama is out to destroy the USA. Does he have a hddine agenda. Is he truly a US citizen. Xan't or won't produce the documents. I think we should call for a thorough investigation on who is "leading us". I feel like a sheep going to slaughter.

Anonymous said...

The long arm of Obama reaches another puppet's strings

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:15 AM - so every person named Joseph is a communist because Stalin was? And every person name Karl is a Marxist because Marx was? Every Richard is now a crook - because Nixon was?

What a moron.

Constellation failed because it was grossly mismanaged - the one time a government program is canceled for a good reason and people complain.

Anonymous said...

In re: Anonymous said...
in 1969 we put a man on the moon. we used computers that had less memory that my cell phone. it is now 2010 and we cannot or will not send a person out of leo. is our goverment hiding the fact that a human never been on the moon?

check this site moon or hoax
http://www.apfn.org/apfn/moon.htm

Anonymous said...

I like how everyone makes fun of this guy because he backs the President. Why not take a civics lesson? Of course he backs the President, that who appointed him. Just like Colon Powell followed W's orders even though he knew they were based on shaky info.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:09 AM - it is called pork barrel politics.

Anonymous said...

It's just sad...sad that we're not out past Mars and even sadder that we can't even get back to where we were 40 years ago. There hasn't been any real vision behind the space program for years. Both our leadership and NASA can share the blame for that - although I do feel that it's got to be very dishearting to NASA having your marching orders change with almost every administration.

Hopefully it doesn't happen in our lifetimes - but it would have been nice to know that there was some other place to colonize after we've made this planet unliveable - or maybe just a new place where we could send all politicians.

Anonymous said...

obama is tearing everything apart...maybe next he will tear apart the auto industry then we can walk to work. industry and research institutions have given us what we have today. lets just keep cancelling things and reorganizing to the point...we don't have anything...just think of a the story...1984

Anonymous said...

Deft ears? Man, people are dumb....

Anonymous said...

12:20 poster: Don't worry. When this world becomes uninhabitable, we can take a Russian rocket to the international Mars colony (Communist run, of course, since only Communist countries valued and continued funding their manned space programs) and rent a fabulous 2-room efficiency from a Chinese landlord.

Stephen C. Smith said...

For the individuals trying to make something out of nothing ...

Che is Hebrew for "Jehovah increases":

http://www.babynology.com/meaning-che-m29.html

Anonymous said...

I just don't get it, people think nothing of spending billions to send someone into outerspace, but don't want to insure a sick child. What's wrong with this picture?

Stephen C. Smith said...

Anonymous at 4:52 PM wrote:

"I just don't get it, people think nothing of spending billions to send someone into outerspace, but don't want to insure a sick child. What's wrong with this picture?"

It's called hypocrisy.

These people are only interested in protecting their government jobs. They scream socialism when it applies to everyone else. They don't want to pay taxes to help someone else's sick child, but they want me to pay taxes to pay for their government job.

Anonymous said...

Cancel Constellation! Ares I-X was a major organizational cluster. Yeah they launched the rocket, but it was full of people trying to make a name for themselves in the Constellation program. The concept of launching 2 rockets (Ares 1 and Ares 5) was stupid. NASA should have started with Ares 5 way back in 2003.

Look back at the Apollo days. Kennedy wanted us to go to the Moon in 1961. 8 years later, we landed on the Moon. Went through 3 different rockets to get there. In 2004, Bush wanted us to go back to the Moon. 6 years later, NASA only launched a test rocket.

Big difference was back in the Apollo days, NASA had unlimited funds from Congress. We cannot afford to give NASA unlimited funds in today's environment.

Also the biggest reason given in the news on extending the shuttle program is to save jobs at KSC. Wrong reason! People at KSC previously accepted the fact that we would have to rely on the Russians after the shuttle retired and Constellation was going to be flying. Even knowing that the Ares rockets would not be ready on time as NASA advertised. And now it's a concern? Only because we're 6 months away from tons of KSC workers losing their jobs.

That recent rally at Titusville BCC was apparently a Union pity party - as told by people who attended. Even the lady that owned Dixie Crossroads was crying over the potential of losing customers. I quit going to Dixie Crossroads because the food sucks!

Anonymous said...

RETIRE OBAMA, NOT THE SPACE SHUTTLE!!!

Anonymous said...

I served with then "Capt. Anthony Che Bolden" while he was with 1st Force Reconnonaissance Company in the U.S. Marines. I know him to be a man of extremely high morals and aptitude, and based on everything I ever heard him say of his father, I can only conclude he must be just as good of a man, if not better.

If anyone wants to point a finger at "why" NASA has problems, they need only consider one aspect of its very existence:

It is a government-run agency!

NASA is not a flawed concept or entity in itself. Our government is! NASA pays the price!!

Instead of pointing at Honorable men such as Mr. Bolden and his son, we would be better served to look more closely at what sort of "riff-raff" we have in Congress, and in other factions of our government!