I hadn’t noticed this from last Thursday:
According to insiders, the White House is looking at four options, each of which would scrap Ares I, dramatically revise Constellation and start new programs allowing commercial space companies to carry humans to the space station. All would be blocked by the latest move by Congress.
Emphasis mine. If the insiders are right, we’re approaching the end of our long national space-policy nightmare. Oh, and as for Congress blocking it? They can do that, I suppose, but it won’t save Ares I. It will just keep any other option from being implemented. NASA (via the administration) will decide what its new plans are. Congress can oppose them, but it can’t force a different direction. And most of Congress, other than the Alabama delegation, doesn’t give a damn.
[Update a while later]
Bobby Block has the latest on the battle at the Orlando Sentinel. This is interesting (if a little depressing):
Last week, Boeing executives, including the company’s vice president for Space Exploration Vice President and General Manager, Brewster Shaw, a former astronaut, called on their employees “to share their excitement and commitment to human space flight — and the Constellation project and Ares program — with their elected officials” through a company-assisted letter-writing effort.
It is the first time that a company has called on its workforce to try to fight to save NASA’s embattled Constellation moon rocket program.
“Now more than ever, it is extremely important that everyone become involved in this conversation,” Shaw wrote in a message to employees last Thursday.
What they’re trying to save, of course, are the upper stage and avionics ring contracts. My question is, how seriously would they expect a Congressperson to take a letter from someone whose contract is at stake? It’s one thing to get a letter from an uninvolved but interested citizen — it’s another to get one from a Boeing employee. I’d be inclined to ignore it myself, particularly given the knowledge that it was at the behest of management. I’m not sure this is a great PR play.
Of course, it could be that they’re just following orders:
Gabrielle Giffords, the head of the House subcommittee with NASA oversight and the wife of NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, says she urged aerospace leaders to get their employees to write the President over the summer, but said only six letters were written.
…Boeing spokesman Ed Memi said that the company recently decided that a big push to back Constellation by its employees was a good move now.
Well, we can see why…