This past tuesday, NASA got a boost for it's return to the moon program. And from members on Capital Hill.
Basically, its a plea for an additional $3 billion dolalrs a year to NASA to keep the plan originally proposed by President George W. Bush.
Head of the President Obama's panel that review the space program proposal said, "With the resources available, the program I think is fatally flawed." So said Norman Augustine, the panel's head. Mr. Augustine is a retired chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin Corp.
Congressmen from both parties, including the wife of a astronaut, came to the plan's defense - attacking the Augustine panel for their conculsions.
NASA has already spent $8 billion on the Constellation Project. By 2020, $100 billion would have been spent on that program.
"I don't see the logic in scrapping what the nation has spent years and billions of dollars to develope," House Space Subcommittee chairwoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). Her husband Mark Kelly, is schedule to command a shuttle mission next year. She went on to add that there needs to be a very compelling reason to change the program.
Augustine told the Associated Press after the hearing that "the sunken costs argument doesn't carry much weight with us."
Former NASA Administrator Michael Griffin - came to the defense of his pet project. Griffin agree with the Augustine reprot in saying there was not enough money in the current budget to explore space and go anywhere new. Griffin noted that Presidents Obama, Bush, and Bill Clinton all essentially cut NASA spending, with a drop of about 20 percent since 1993. Griffin in his wirtten testimony defended the Bush moon program technical design and emphasized that it should continue with the extra money. He asked that the Augustine Commission, Congress and President Obama should ask themeselves ,"exactly why does the policy which we established in law - twice - need to be changed?"
The Augustine commission recommened dropping the Aries I rocket and go straight to the Ares V booster system. Last week, the Ares I was test fired and it past that crucial test.
UPDATE (September 17, 2009). Added additional link in Ref section below.
Ref. www.comcast.net, Sept 15, 2009. by Seth Borenstein, "Return-to-moon plan gets boost on Captial Hill" (http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-science/20090915/US.SCI.NASA.Moon/).
The Space Advocate (http://thespaceadvocate.blogspot.com/2009/09/augustine-vs-congress-people-some-of.html).
Space Flight Now(http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0909/15augustine/)