NASA prepares to wind down its manned shuttle mission, the U.S. space
agency is telling contractors to prepare for a slowdown in manned
moon research. In addition to the anticipated job loss, ending
the Constellation program will cost NASA millions in cancellation
fees on top of the billions already invested in the project.Over
the past five years, NASA has racked up $10 billion in space research
and development to try and take astronauts back to the moon.
The most recent budget includes a clause put in by Congress to ensure
that President Obama is unable to end the Constellation program
without approval.If Constellation ends, NASA believes as many
as two-thirds of the current 7,800 contractors involved in the
project could end up unemployed. It'll cost almost $1 billion
to pay cancellation costs to Lockheed Martin, Alliant Techsystems,
and other contractors currently working for NASA.Neither
company is expected to receive additional funds, but it's an issue
that NASA needs to figure out."In a brief check with
people more knowledgeable than me, NASA has
never held contractors' liable for termination liability,"
said Dr. Scott Pace, former NASA associate administrator and Space
Policy Institute Director. “If this is to be the new agency
policy and practice, then NASA should shift responsibility for
termination liability on all of its current contracts, not simply
Constellation. “As it stands, this appears to be purposefully
punitive against a specific set of NASA contractors.” Obama
is expected to discuss the topic further with Congress and current
space experts, but it's unknown what must be done for both sides to
reach a working agreement.
quote: Screw science! People need free health care!