In the NASA FY2011 Budget, there is $2.5 billion $macker$ assigned to the closure of Constellation Program contracts.
Au contrare says Elizabeth Robinson, the former Office of Management and Budget career official appointed by President Barack Obama as the space agency’s chief financial officer:
the funds are not intended to cover contract termination liability — the cost to a contractor and NASA of shutting down contractor facilities, terminating leases and the like.
Instead, they will go for the cost to the government of pulling Constellation equipment out of its own facilities, environmental remediation at those facilities, and keeping civil servants on the payroll until new work can be found for them, Robinson said.
“The program termination costs and the civilian transition costs are the primary things in the $2.5 billion,” she said.
NASA has spent about $9 billion on Constellation to date — largely to develop the Ares I crew launch vehicle and the Orion crew exploration vehicle just completing preliminary design review. The Fiscal 2011 budget includes $1.9 billion in Fiscal 2011 and $600 million in Fiscal 2012 for the program termination and civilian transition costs associated with stopping it.
Robinson said NASA is developing a plan for managing the requested funds and handling the additional contract termination liability. She conceded the $2.5 billion has quickly become a potential cash cow within the agency as NASA struggles to change direction in human access to orbit from Constellation vehicles to a purely commercial approach.
“Everyone says that line will take care of it,” she said. “I think it will be oversubscribed.”
Boy, even in dying the Constellation Program is going to end up being a pig roast. The tax-payers really took it up the…well, we’ll leave it to your imagination.
Life on ice?
How about under it?
Like 600 feet:
In a surprising discovery about where higher life can thrive, scientists for the first time found a shrimp-like creature and a jellyfish frolicking beneath a massive Antarctic ice sheet.
Six hundred feet below the ice where no light shines, scientists had figured nothing much more than a few microbes could exist.
That’s why a NASA team was surprised when they lowered a video camera to get the first long look at the underbelly of an ice sheet in Antarctica. A curious shrimp-like creature came swimming by and then parked itself on the camera’s cable. Scientists also pulled up a tentacle they believe came from a foot-long jellyfish.
“We were operating on the presumption that nothing’s there,” said NASA ice scientist Robert Bindschadler, who will be presenting the initial findings and a video at an American Geophysical Union meeting Wednesday. “It was a shrimp you’d enjoy having on your plate.”
Cool. Like really cool.
This looks like the chances of finding life under the ice sheets of Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus has increased dramatically.
All we need are money and a way to melt through their ice.