The zombie rocket continues:
At the root of the problem is a 70-word sentence inserted into the 2010 budget — by lawmakers seeking to protect Ares I jobs in their home states — that bars NASA from shutting down the program until Congress passed a new budget a year later.
That should have happened before the Oct. 1 start of the federal fiscal year.
But Congress never passed a 2011 budget and instead voted this month to extend the 2010 budget until March — so NASA still must abide by the 2010 language.
That means NASA and its contractors are required to keep building Ares I, even though Obama effectively killed it when he signed the new NASA plan that canceled the Constellation moon program begun under President George W. Bush.
“It would be nice if Congress did its work,” said John Logsdon, space expert at George Washington University. “I would not be surprised if there was a combination of frustration and anger [at NASA]. They want to get on carrying out a good space program.”
It doesn’t matter. Having a good space program hasn’t been politically important in over forty years.
[Update a while later]
More from Stephen Smith:
Perhaps the singular achievement by SpaceX with its December 8 launch and orbit of the Dragon spacecraft is to show what American engineering can still accomplish when freed of Congressional shenanigans.
Imagine what SpaceX, Orbital, Boeing or one of the other Commercial Crew Development applicants could do with that $500 million which will do nothing except keep on life-support a brain-dead government jobs program.
Imagine. It’s easy if you try.