Not too long ago, I wrote a little article online here about how our Space Program is screwed, since Obama seems to oppose it. (That article http://www.republibot.com/content/realspace-things-are-looking-really-ba... ) Project Constellation is, of course, our attempt to get rid of this guilded turd that the Nixon administration saddled us with, and which we've been pointlessly flying - and killing people with - for very nearly a generation now (1981-2009).
During his campaign, Obama said that he would favor "postponing" Constellation for "Five years," which I argued is pretty much the same as cancelling it. The president had a comission futzing about, trying to find some way to salvage some aspect of the program, but it seemed too little, too late for me, and I took the conclusions to be a fait acompli.
What I neglected to consider, however, is that Obama can't get legislation his party supports passed, despite the fact that he's got a massive majority in both houses, and (initially) a ton of good will from the public. If he can't get socialized medcine passed - despite the fact that more than half the country seems to want it, or at least to be willing to give it a try - then what hope does he have to do more specific, less-ideologically bound issues such as space the way he wants?
Congress met Tuesday to discuss the results of the President's comission, and discuss their options for the space program. Surprisingly - and I didn't see this coming - Congress didn't just roll over and play dead. Good for them! (That's not something I say often about Congress, even when our own boys are running it)
After hearing the report, Bart Gordon (Democrat) blew off the entire report, saying "NASA has been working for more than four years on the Constellation program, a development program in support of which Congress has invested billions of dollars over that same period, as a result I think that good public policy would tell us that there needs to be a compelling reason to scrap what we’ve invested our time and money in over the past several years."
Ralph Hall, (Republican) agreed saying, "It is hard for me to understand why the president is seeking new options at all when there has been an agreed-upon plan for several years. Why don’t we just fund the program we’ve all agreed to?”
Just to recap here, Obama's plan ammounts to throwing away the ten billion dollars we've already sunk in to the Constellation program, and both of these guys - one of them a bigwig from Obama's own party - is pointing out tha this is a very stupid idea. Again, good for them!
This is not something I say very often, but Al Gore actually accidentally ended up doing a good thing when he chaired the space program back in his days as Veep. Prior to that time, NASA had to fight from funding in congress. Gore came up with the idea of moving a NASA component - an office, a factory, a think tank, whatever - in to every Senatorial and Representative district in the US, so, in essence, a congressional vote against NASA is a vote against government pork in every district, and an increase in unemployment of the highly educated to boot. Congress will *never* vote for that. So: Well done, Gore. I'm sure you didn't think it up, I'm sure organized crime or your Chinese Financial backers probably set it up, but no matter: A good idea is a good idea, and I thank you (Or whomever you work for) for coming up with it. Who knows: It may even eventually make up for saddling us with this piece-of-crap space station.
So: Suddenly things are looking (Marginally) better for Constellation, though by way of a reality check there's still a kerjillion ways things could go wrong.