Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama released today the education plan he would enact if elected. The full 15-page plan includes a variety of proposals, including reforming early education programs. The last section of the plan, titled “A Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility” explains how he would pay for these initiatives. The passage of relevance here: “The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years,” among other steps. According to MSNBC, Obama would leave in place $500 million/year for Constellation’s “manufacturing and technology base”, but would otherwise transfer the funding to the education effort. None of the campaign’s official statements or other media reports indicate any alternative measures the campaign would take to address what, on its face, would appear to be a five-year delay in the introduction of Ares 1, Orion, and the other main components of NASA’s current exploration architecture.
(A potentially ironic item, depending on your opinion on the importance of Constellation: one other section of the Obama education plan is titled “Make Math and Science Education a National Priority”.)
The Republican National Committee has criticized the move to delay Constellation, The Hill reports, quoting RNC spokesman Danny Diaz: “It is ironic that Barack Obama’s plan to help our children reach for the stars is financed in part by slashing a program that helps us learn about those very same stars.”