The FYI series published online by the American Institute of Physics has been following the Congressional hearings on NASA’s budget and reactions to the agency’s plans to drop the underfunded Constellation program. There is supposed to be some kind of Administration space event in April to try and mollify the Congressional opposition to canceling Constellation. But as the author of today’s FYI piece notes, there has been a bit of softening in the position of at least one of the members of Congress who have finally gotten fed up with the treatment of Constellation.
“As the hearing concluded, an indication of perhaps how the dialogue has moved forward can be seen in the statements of Ranking Member Wolf. At the February hearing he told Director Holdren ‘I’m going to oppose what you are trying to do . . . I’m going to do everything I can to stop this.’ At this week’s hearing he asked Bolden to meet with a group of individuals to determine ‘where do we go from here.’ He spoke of a ‘spirit of reconciliation’ and his desire to resolve issues. Bolden replied ‘we will find a solution to this problem.'”
Since this change of plans has the approval of the President, and acknowledges the reality that whether or not Constellation moves forward, there would be job changes in the space force, I think Congressional resistance will mellow. The members of Congress who have been fighting for Constellation have been losing that battle for a long time. The Administration needs to give more details about what it wants to do, and how much it will cost, but that may come next month. So the fight that I was expecting may not happen. It remains to be seen if a truly sustainable plan will emerge.