NASA forced to pay half billion for rocket to nowhere


A quirk in the 2010 budget and the continuing resolution have forced NASA to continue funding already-canceled Ares V rocket program to the tune of $465 million through March 4.

The Orlando Sentinel caught this one:

At the root of the problem is a 70-word sentence inserted into the 2010 budget — by lawmakers seeking to protect Ares I jobs in their home states — that bars NASA from shutting down the program until Congress passed a new budget a year later.

That should have happened before the Oct. 1 start of the federal fiscal year.

But Congress never passed a 2011 budget and instead voted this month to extend the 2010 budget until March — so NASA still must abide by the 2010 language.

The language was placed into the 2010 budget by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., and keeps the whole Constellation program going until March 4, at a cost of $1.2 billion.

Or as I would like to call it, 20 percent of the yearly amount that is saved by the federal pay freeze.


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