Congress, NASA

Shelby to Ares’ defense

While members of Florida’s Congressional delegation push to keep the space shuttle flying after 2010, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) remains on the side of Constellation, particularly the Ares 1. He told the Huntsville Times that NASA couldn’t afford flying the shuttle after 2010 while also supporting Ares and the ISS. “With only so much resources out there, I think we ought to move forward,” Shelby said. “You always have to be looking to the future. What is the next step? Ares plays a big role in that.” He added in the video below that he’ll do “everything that I can to move forward and not just sit on the status quo.”

Sen. Richard Shelby on the Ares Rocket

Also note in the video the comments about the relationship he had with former NASA administrator Mike Griffin. In a tangentially-related piece, the Times reports that the Univ. of Alabama Huntsville is considering hiring Griffin as an “eminent scholar” and tenured engineering professor.

9 comments to Shelby to Ares’ defense

  • Immense Stupidity

    “everything that I can to move forward and not just sit on the status quo.”

    Senator Shelby is the status quo, he’s just too stupid to recognize it. There should be some kind of minimum intelligence standard for US senators.

    Griffin : how to bring huge amount of federal dollars into my university, agency or institution, to accomplish nothing, at great cost.over a long time.

    He certainly is ‘eminently qualified’ for this position.

  • Sheridan

    Earth to Senator Shelby:

    The Shuttle extension is dependent upon EXTRA money from Congress. It will not affect the Constellation budget or schedule at all.

    Shelby already knows this. So to start claiming otherwise stinks of a hidden agenda.

  • Ron Carlson

    It seems that Congress can easily find hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars in just a few short weeks that likely will never be seen again to bail out crooks and thieves on Wall Street but will spend years starving NASA of the money it needs to run it’s programs properly.

    I’d say the mess that NASA is in schedule-wise concerning the Shuttle program and bringing the Constellation system online is mostly due to the penny-wise pound-foolish politicians in Congress forcing NASA into an endles series of less than optimal decisions based on availability of not enough money.

    There is no organization in the world that has more sheer brain power than NASA.

    There are few organizations in the world that can match Congress for short sightedness and ineptitude.

    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.

    – Mark Twain, a Biography

  • CharlesInHouston

    Does it seem like the US government space program is a bug, with a huge stone poised just overhead – teetering? And the wind is picking up?

    Unless some magic appears – Constellation funding assumes a steady growth. That is according to the Sand Chart among other things – we start funding and as hardware is built costs ramp up steeply.

    Especially in this era of unprecedented deficits – where is all of that money going to come from? The first year Obama deficit is huge (about 1.8 trillion) and will all those people that got money the first year easily surrender funding for the next year? Will the deficit really “shrink” after the first year? And how can it NOT shrink? Of course it may shrink down to about three times as large as the worst George Bush deficit…

    It appears to me that the Shuttle will go away – to be replaced by a very drawn out development program. With costs going up steeply – before we are even buying hardware.

    The Shuttle workforce will be scattered during the (ten??) years between the last Shuttle flight and first flight of whatever replaces it. I only hope that something does replace the Shuttle!

    Sigh. It appears that the richest country on Earth cannot afford to keep flying in space – at all.

  • Jim Muncy

    Sheridan —

    Why do you assume that Shuttle life extension is dependent upon extra money? I can easily see Congress saying “fly out the manifest, and do it carefully.” The current flight plan will simply stretch into — and may fill — FY2011. As Sen. Nelson points out, that will cost $2.5B or more. He is trying to get extra money to pay for it. But that money may not show up.

    But sometime in the next year or so, policymakers will decide whether we finish ISS and launch AMS-02, or throw all the Shuttle employees off work with the job undone to accelerate spending on Ares.

    I’ll bet 3 to 1 that finishing ISS wins.

    – Jim

  • richardb

    ISS wins.
    Soyuz wins.
    Everybody else in NASA will have a budget knife fight for survival.
    Giant cash crunch is fast approaching the USG, Nasa will be tossed aside very quickly as the USG scrambles to save money in 2010-2012.

  • Major Tom

    “’With only so much resources out there, I think we ought to move forward,’ Shelby said.”

    If Senator Shelby is really concerned about resource constraints, then he should be asking NASA about the independent Aerospace Corp. study that priced out the cost of developing an Orion-capable EELV at $1.5-1.55 billion by 2014, vice the ~$15+ billion by 2015-17 that Ares I will cost the taxpayer. See:


  • A major problem with the U.S. space program is lack of focus.

    Too much emphasis is drawn on out dated thinking that gov’t space programs are to absorb as much of the development of space as possible. Too many think space is a waste of money. Oh…but giving trillions of taxpayer money on risky moral hazard schemes secretly is more palatable than seeing hardware on the launch pad or in transit around the solar system?
    Especially if that hardware results in technical advancement, employment, extra terrestrial human habitability, mining operations resulting in valued commodities or discovery of life forms that could cure diseases afflicting humans on Earth.
    Give me a break…Try looking at the positive side of the space equation.

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