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Pres. Obama still wants to end the Constellation space program, which will cost NASA millions

As 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.





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By Codeman03xx on 6/14/2010 5:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
I know this sounds crazy but think of the advances in tech that we could get with contacting an alien colony. We need to keep pushing forward with the space program, any more delays in the space program will push tech possibly 1000's of years off track. Who really knows when an Einstein type person could be around maybe they could find intelligent life that will help us.




By Codeman03xx on 6/14/2010 6:04:23 PM , Rating: 1
Hey im just saying if nobody would have listened to Einstein and other geniuses then we would be far behind from what we are now. No Nuclear energy would be Armageddon. The world would be in Chaos starved for fossil fuels and no way of producing enough energy. Not to say we will ever meet ET or ever bacteria on another planet, but if there is any chance that we ever wood we need to make the steps in the right direction. Stopping NASA all together is silly Once tech. becomes good enough such as carbon nano tubes we will be able to create "safe" space travel, but until then it should be business as usual at NASA.


By kfonda on 6/15/2010 12:44:22 AM , Rating: 2
It will push tech back, I don't know how far, but it will. Once the engineers stop working on the program, the experience starts to slip away. If they want to start manned flights again they have to re-learn everything they already know. Don't say the books and records will be enough to teach them, it requires hands on experience.

For a very small scale example, look at the Y2K software issues. There were very few experienced COBOL and ADA programmers left and a ton of old COBOL and ADA software that needed to be fixed.


By michael67 on 6/15/2010 9:06:33 AM , Rating: 1
This would never have created the same push that the Appolo project had in the 60s as it would have just refined some of the now a days tech.
In the 60s it was finding out how to do things ware this project would only be about finding out how to do things a bid better.

Also the Appolo project was done in a time ware the engineers ware working 60~80 hours a day to find out new stuff to make it work, ware this project would just get most of them do a just 9 to 5 job and that it.

The Japanese project on the other hand is pushing for real new tech whit everything done by robots.

There is also a benefit from this, all these engineers are going to look for other work and have to do this harder in the public sector, then on a mega project as this one, and make them push harder to distinguish them self from others in a smaller.

Imo this project was just a other one of Bushes wet dreams to be remembered as a great President, sorry Bush but your no JFK!


By troysavary on 6/15/2010 2:06:16 PM , Rating: 2
How does one get both "where" and "were" spelled wrong in the same way?


By Pjotr on 6/15/2010 7:38:00 AM , Rating: 2
The current program is not many years old. It doesn't take a thousand years to start a new project when the economic future looks better.

Tech advancements can be made just as well with any other subject. The NASA budget put into research in other fields will be just as useful to mankinds technical development as flying in space. It's more about the amount put into research than the subject itself.


By maven81 on 6/15/2010 8:04:05 AM , Rating: 2
NASA does not equal mankind. Don't forget that there are other space programs as well. It pains me to see that we are not pressing ahead nearly as much as I think we should, but just because we will not, doesn't mean no one will.


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