The budget of space agency NASA is perpetually under fire in Congress, except, it seems, when members are trying to protect jobs in their home states that are tied to ... NASA! There's the conundrum in the agency actually being required to keep spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the Ares I rocket program. At one time the rocket was scheduled to replace the space shuttle in taking astronauts to the International Space Station. It's since been scrapped.
But the aforementioned members of Congress put a provision into the 2010 budget that bars NASA from shutting down the program until a 2011 budget is passed. Hence, NASA has to abide by the 2010 budget and keep paying contractors.
"If we can put a man on the moon ..." is a phrase invoked whenever America faces a daunting challenge. This budget foul-up is a reminder that we reached the moon because of NASA, and not because of Congress.
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