The U.S. Senate appeared to have cobbled together a compromise with the White House concerning NASA's immediate future as of late last week, but a new House Science Committee bill might undermine those dealings. The House proposal does not include an extra shuttle flight as the Senate compromise did, and it explicitly calls for a renewed commitment to develop the canceled Constellation program for deep space technologies like the Ares I rocket and the Orion crew capsule.
A draft version of the bill, which was posted publicly late yesterday, provides for a $19 billion topline NASA budget, as do the White House and the Senate. But how that money is to be spent couldn't be more different. Essentially, the House committee sees the $9 billion already spent on the Constellation program as being irresponsibly wasted, and therefore claims NASA is obligated to see it through.
The draft bill reads: "In an environment of constrained budgets, responsible stewardship of taxpayer-provided resources makes it imperative that NASA's exploration program be carried out in a manner that builds on the investments made to date in the Orion, Ares 1 and heavy-lift projects."
The House version also calls for a government-owned astronaut transport that can ferry crews and supplies to the ISS by the end of 2015, as well as a heavy lift launch vehicle by the end of the decade.
Of course, the bill has to allocate funds for these ambitious projects, and it plans to take those from the darlings of President Obama's space agenda: commercial space companies. The Senate bill offered private sector space development $612 million in government funds next year to develop their technologies; the House wants to pare that back to $64 million.
And just yesterday Boeing unveiled designs for its own low-earth-orbit crew capsule, the CST-100 it is developing with Bigelow Aerospace under a NASA contract. Pulling money away from these kinds of projects now would set back private space technology development and by extension some of NASA's own goals.
Not to mention, a full emasculating of its space policy is not likely to please the White House. But before any legislation reaches Obama's desk it will have to be reconciled between the House and Senate and then passed through each house's appropriations committee to secure the funds. So with last week's optimism that a deal had been reached behind us, it seems the debate over America's future in space will remain in limbo for at least a few more months.
NASA needs to come up with some images from Mars, showing the presence oil... I wonder how quickly they would get funding then.
Aw come on! What is the House doing?? The Senate and White House had come to an agreement that wouldn't get rid of all the Constellation jobs, would extend the shuttle one more flight to ease the pain there, while still providing funds for commercial space ventures. This is just ridiculous.
I've come to terms with commercial companies taking over and eventually leading the way to LEO at the very least, but apparently the House hasn't gotten the memo.
The House and the Senate agreed on something. That's miraculous enough in its own right to show that it must be correct, or at least the correct decision.
CoolHand - oh the House got the message alright - sadly it was the message from the big-boys (Boieng, Lockheed, etc.).
Message: Squash the dollars for commercial flight.
The SpaceX's, bigelows, et al of the world need those Government $$$'s far more than the like of Boieng when it comes to researching and producing viable space-worthy craft and structures....
Boeing....not Boieng LOL
Wow Nasa only has 19 billion to spend. Thats only 190 billion in 10 years yet the war on Terror cost us 1 trillion. Imagine if we put 1 Trillion into Nasa over 10 years. But something like that whould never happend because our goverment would never think that far ahead. With 1 trillion we could upgrade the space station, have a moon base w/ mining and have a Mars mission. This type of thinking would push this nation to the forfront of space tech and tech in general. But that would never happen because we have to many people living off the system and not putting back in. Also we always hear the same old excuses such as... How could we do such a thing with all the people starving in the world.
I say this. Let them starve - the strong surive. Cut the system so people cant abuse it. Lets take tax money sucking social progams funds and further mankind for "the Childern."
Red Tape makes the best nooses.
Anything with ares is a big fat FAIL. There is no reason we cant send people up on the same rocket used to send the the lunar lander // mars transfer vehicle. Ares 1 is total waist because SPACX can do the same thing for a gagillion less dollars, even the Russians are cheaper than ares 1. The whole ares program was designed to keep Utah happy at any expince nessisary, but Utah is full of happy shining people holding hands that really want to see NASA waist that much money on a stupid design.
If you've got that much cash to blow on jobs lets at least get something cool out of it, like a fly back first stage.
As i said on another article, get rid of the Department of Homeland Security. They proposed a budget of 55 billion for 2011. Its not like they arent an overlaping department with the FBI and existing military intel agencies?
Overkill people! I want to go to the moon.
how do you think they are going to pay for the health care bill? they are going to take from the money that was to go to private space comp.
I hate reading this stuff because I know it's only to try and secure votes in states that have space industry contracts. I don't feel like any of these people care or understand what is going on outside of holding onto those seats in Congress with all their might.