Obama Halts NASA's Constellation Program
And relies more heavily on the Russians.
10:02 AM, Feb 2, 2010 • By REUBEN F. JOHNSON
In the president's proposed budget, the Obama administration zeroed out funding for NASA’s Constellation launch vehicle program. I think this decision is both irresponsible and short-sighted. “We certainly don't need to go back to the moon,” one administration official is quoted in the Orlando Sentinel as saying, but without explaining why this is a valid value judgment. Another stated that the budget is intended to “send a message that it's time members of Congress recognize that NASA can't design space programs to create jobs in their districts. That's the view of the president.”
So, the entire argument for canning the Constellation appears to be a tired re-run of the Luddite lambasting of the Apollo missions. A complete waste, we were told back then. A useless exercise to collect moon rocks, hit golf balls in space, and funnel money to fat-cat aerospace companies. Obama’s advisers seem to forget the endless list of consumer items we now use every day of our lives that have their genesis in the technologies developed for the Apollo program.
Three simple facts are being ignored: a) The Constellation program is not just about going to the moon, b) the U.S. has a commitment to the International Space Station (ISS), and c) with the Space Shuttle being retired this September, the Constellation is the only system under development that will give NASA the future capability to launch and retrieve crews to and from the ISS.
Given its history of invading its neighbors (Georgia), extorting huge sums from other neighbors with threats of turning off the gas valve (Ukraine), gruesomely assassinating its critics abroad using exotic, multi-million dollar nuclear materials (Aleksandr Litvinenko), supplying arms to some of the world’s most despotic regimes, and just plain dangerous and reckless behavior, one wonders why the original decision to pour millions into Russia’s state coffers by retiring the Shuttle before there was an alternate launch platform available was ever made in the first place. Continuing the Constellation program – even accelerating it – and curtailing that open checkbook to Moscow could be justified on national security grounds alone. Extending that Russian gravy train to 10 years or more by canceling it (plus the U.S. jobs that will be lost) is incomprehensible.