Sunday, December 11, 2011

Congress Losing Patience with NASA Cost Overruns

Florida Today columnist John Kelly writes that Congress is losing patience with NASA's Webb telescope cost overruns, and "that could be a major threat to space exploration."

The most important takeaway for all of this is that more members of Congress are expressing frustration. Threats are rising. As credibility drops, so might the willingness to continue to fund projects like this, and space exploration could be threatened because the people controlling the money lose faith in the ability of the agency to meet basic budgets and schedules — or for that matter, to even come close.

That could be a major threat to space exploration, and after decades of audits, investigations and other reviews have highlighted this epidemic problem and pointed to solutions, the leadership of the agency needs to begin taking note for the sake of the future of space exploration. Right now, it sounds like they’re still in denial.

Kelly didn't mention Constellation, but it was cancelled because of similar audits.

The last straw was an August 2009 audit which concluded that Constellation "lacked a sound business case." The Ares I rocket intended to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station wouldn't make its first flight until at least 2017 — and would have been financed by defunding the ISS in 2015, meaning it had nowhere to go.

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