Marc's note: At today's House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies Appropriations Bill meeting NASA's exploration budget request saw a reduction of $212.3 million. The committee called a "time-out" with respect to the exploration budget. As well a new item with no definition was added for "Construction and environment compliance" to the tune of $441.7 million. There were 23 earmarks added to the NASA budget totaling $14.55 million.
Constellation is behind schedule and over budget as it is, this "time-out" won't help.
"For NASA, the bill provides a total of $18.2 billion, an increase of $421 million over last years level. Investments have been made in Earth science to further the decadal surveys. The recommendation, however, acknowledges that the Administration has established a blue ribbon panel, led by Dr. Norm Augustine, to review the current vision for human space flight. Funds are provided in the bill to continue investments in human space flight at the same level as provided in fiscal year 2009. Reductions from the budget request should not be viewed as a diminution of my support or that of the Subcommittee in NASAs human space flight activities. Rather, the deferral is taken without prejudice; it is a pause, a time-out, to allow the President to establish his vision for human space exploration and to commit to realistic future funding levels to realize this vision."
"House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) stated it well: "Either the nation is going to have to give NASA enough funding to meet the dual challenges of carrying out its current and planned missions and of revitalizing the agency's human and physical capital, or the nation is going to have to agree on what it wants NASA to cut."