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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 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?

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