NASA Plan to Cancel Constellation "Alarming" Says Rep. Ralph Hall

NASA Plan to Cancel Constellation "Alarming" Says Rep. Ralph Hall

Several members of the House committee that authorizes NASA activities made it clear that they are not happy with NASA’s plans to terminate the Constellation program and replace it with a commercial alternative. At a hearing this morning, Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), ranking member of the full House Science and Technology Committee, called the plan “alarming.”

“The Ares launcher and Orion crew vehicle have been designed to be a very safe and robust system. They have undergone rigorous engineering reviews. American taxpayers have invested nine billion dollars – and the agency and its contractors have spent five years – working to ensure that Constellation will be flexible, affordable, and safe. To simply toss this aside and gamble America’s human spaceflight program on an undefined, untested system is alarming.”

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), chair of the subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, said “My concern today is not numbers on a ledger, but rather the fate of the American dream to reach for the stars.” Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), ranking member of the subcommittee, expressed concern that “We are on the verge of abandoning human space flight in the near term, and I fear beyond that.”

Not all the members were opposed to the idea, though. Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA) was supportive of commercial human space flight, arguing that NASA had spent $9 billion just to get to the Ares 1-X test flight last year that he said used no new technology. He believes the commercial sector could get humans into space more cost effectively. Others pointed out that the $9 billion paid for much more than that one test.

A summary of the hearing will be posted here soon.

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