A senior NASA official has signed the formal death warrant for the Constellation deep space exploration program even as work proceeds on one of Constellation’s legacy development efforts and agency officials continue to ponder the fate of another.I've written about the wastage and fiscal mismanagement before, but maybe this graphic shows the situation best:
“I have signed the letter to close out the Constellation Program,” Douglas Cooke, associate administrator for NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate, wrote in a June 10 memo.
From another previous post :
Why are all concrete plans for further crewed space exploration now cancelled?NASA has spent more than $9 billion on development of the Constellation project and the Ares rockets over the last six years. President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget would end funding for the Constellation Systems program, initiated by NASA in 2005 to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020 and later to Mars. The administration says the program is behind schedule and cannot achieve its goals without budget increases. Constellation would need an additional $3 billion annually beyond fiscal 2010.
Now Constellation needed mending with a new one. But now it's clear that to Obama, it's all about "US Pride" and "Showing the Flag". Prestige. Basically, one huge publicity stunt. Not about colonisation. Not about using our disabled twin planet as a testing ground for how to live off-Earth.
Obama sought to explain why he aborted President George W. Bush's return-to-the moon plan in favor of a complicated system of public-and-private flights that would go elsewhere in space, with details still to be worked out.As reported over a year ago.
"We've been there before," Obama said of the nation's moon landings decades ago.
Constellation needed killing. It was a product of the pork-barrelling "business as usual" that bedevils Congress's financing of space exploration. Split the work so the pork is spread evenly - thus waking everything vastly inefficient. Listen to what the engineers say regarding how much money they will need - then give them half of that. Then spread the payments out over many years, to increase the costs yet more.. and finally kill the project, as it never stood a chance of working anyway without more funding.
Constellation also needed replacing with something more concrete than Unicorns and Rainbows. In one way, it has been, just not a US program - the next man to step foot on the moon will be speaking Mandarin.