SLS and Orion: July 2010 Archives

GAO: NASA Constellation Program and Appropriations Restrictions, Part II B-320091, July 23, 2010

"Congressional Requesters: In a letter dated March 12, 2010, you requested information and our views on whether the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) complied with the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 and with restrictions in the fiscal year 2010 Exploration appropriation when NASA took certain actions pertaining to the Constellation program. ... CONCLUSION: NASA's actions to date with regard to the Constellation program have not violated either the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 or the provision in the fiscal year 2010 Exploration appropriation that bars NASA from terminating or eliminating any PPAs of the architecture for the Constellation program."

Senate compromise may be setting up NASA for another failure, Orlando Sentinel

"The plan orders NASA to build a heavy-lift rocket and capsule capable of reaching the International Space Station by 2016. But it budgets less money for the new spacecraft - roughly $11 billion over three years, with $3 billion next year -- than what the troubled Constellation program would have received. That - plus the short deadline -- has set off alarms. Days before the compromise was announced, NASA chief Charlie Bolden and Deputy Lori Garver told its two champions -- U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Florida and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas -- that NASA could not finish the proposed new rocket before 2020, according to three sources present at the meetings. When asked about the conversation, Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin said the NASA officials were responding to lower dollar figures than what Congress ultimately approved. NASA spokesman Michael Cabbage said it "would not be appropriate to discuss private conversations between NASA and members of Congress."

NASA appears to no longer be shooting for the stars, opinion, LA Times

"The $150-million facility was built to contain the next-generation manned spacecraft for the Constellation program, NASA's project to send humans back to the moon. It is the largest acoustic test chamber in the world, created to buffet the spacecraft with intense sound waves, simulating the stresses of launch. The only problem is that the Constellation program almost certainly will be dead within months. President Obama in January proposed cancelling the troubled moon program, and a key Senate committee voted this week to kill Constellation."

NASA 'compromise' a good start, editorial, Huntsville Times

"Portions of the Constellation program, including the Orion crew capsule and a heavy-lift rocket designed to travel to Mars, appear likely to survive in some form but details won't be known until the final vote. The $19 billion budget provides for another shuttle flight some time next summer in addition to planned launches in November and February next year."

JSC rescue: Senate bill bolstering manned space flight welcome news for Houston, Houston Chronicle

"There's a lot for Houstonians to like in the $19 billion spending plan. While it cancels the Constellation program moon missions, it substitutes Mars and asteroids as long-term destinations. It will extend the life of the International Space Station through 2020, direct NASA to build a new heavy-lift launch rocket to be operational in six years, and continue development of the Orion crew exploration vehicle. At the same time it preserves the thrust of the Obama plan to support development of commercial launch crews to low Earth orbit."

Keith's note: The folks at the LA Times should do a little more fact checking. Yes, Constellation is being cancelled, but no Orion is not. So this test stand will still find use.

Support Constellation

"IT'S FAST AND EASY: Each member of Congress has a phone line for public comments. Just call! A congressional staffer will pick up the phone. Just say something like: "I'm calling to express my concern about the NASA budget. I think we should restore full funding to Project Constellation and to the human space exploration program." The staffer will thank you, and will probably ask for your address. That's it!"

Congress may not decide Constellation's fate until next year, Huntsville Times

"The Nelson authorization bill would also take a "walk before you run" approach to commercial space development. NASA would be required to complete "studies, assessments, and milestones" before commercial service to the space station starts. The Senate appropriations subcommittee that controls NASA spending hasn't met yet, and its ranking member is Shelby. "As the ranking member," he said Friday, "I will continue fighting to refocus NASA on its core mission of advancing the U.S. human space flight program and preserving our nation's capabilities, which this administration is actively trying to dismantle."

Human space flight worth saving: robots no sub for manned trips, opinion, Rep Aderholt, Huntsville Times

"I believe NASA's recent contract "descoping" actions - which forced prime contractors to cancel or reduce subcontracts - are a direct violation of a provision in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act. That bill did not give NASA permission to gut some projects and programs to fund others with Constellation and if it is found that NASA violated this provision, then NASA will be held responsible."

Laid-off NASA contractors plan strategy for re-employment, WAFF

"About one hundred people turned out for the kickoff meeting of the Huntsville Space Professionals at UA-Huntsville's Chan Auditorium Friday afternoon."

Huntsville Space Professionals helps laid-off NASA workers, Huntsvile Times

"HSP plans to hold a job fair next month and provides updated news from Washington about NASA-related decisions made by Congress. The group's website lists employment opportunities, which are not exclusive to those laid off. There was a political undertone to the meeting. Many who attended expressed frustration over cuts to the Constellation program. President Obama has proposed to kill the program. "Congress could revive Constellation next week if they had the mindset to do so," said Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks, the GOP nominee for Alabama's Fifth Congressional District."

Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle Passes Key NASA Milestone

"The Orion crew exploration vehicle has successfully completed the Phase 1 Safety Review of NASA's Human Rating Requirements for space exploration in low Earth orbit and beyond. The NASA/Lockheed Martin Orion team earned the approval from NASA's Constellation Safety & Engineering Review Panel (CSERP) upon completion of the review, an essential requirement for the Orion program to move forward to the Critical Design Review and Phase 2 Safety Review."


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