Nasa Chief Wars With Congress Over Constellation

06.11.10 |

It looks like NASA and Congress are about to do battle over the Constellation project. That project was one designed to develop, test, build and put into orbit a whole new generation of rockets and space capsules. The project would take astronauts into orbit, back to the moon and then, perhaps, Mars. President Obama proposed canceling Constellation in February but NASA chief Charles Bolden promised to keep it going until Congress ruled one way or the other. Now, according to "The Wall Street Journal," Bolden wants to shut it down. The policy shift was announced Thursday by Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. Congress recently approved language banning NASA from cancelling Constellation or starting up new programs until it receives approval from lawmakers.

 Bolden claims the decision was pushed on him by existing laws that cover funding of federal contracts. Because the future of Constellation is in effect, up in the air, contractors can't continue work without running afoul of federal funding statutes. Bolden says he wants to preserve Constellation personnel and technology but will back burner funding for hardware that can only be used as part of the program and no others. Hutchison isn't going for it and says Constellation must be funded regardless of other statutes.