Panel OKs $1.5 billion for Ares
The Huntsville Times
A spending bill approved by a House and Senate conference committee late Tuesday gave a congressional seal of approval to the Ares rocket projects called into question by a White House-appointed review panel.
Senior House and Senate members approved a 2010 Omnibus Appropriations Bill that gives NASA $1.5 billion for work on the Ares I crew rocket and the Ares V heavy-lift rocket.
The Constellation Program, which includes the Ares rockets and is NASA’s plan to replace the space shuttle and perhaps go to the moon or beyond, got $3.46 billion in the budget. The bill gives NASA an overall fiscal 2010 budget of $18.7 billion, a $1.4 billion increase over this year.
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, who has been critical of the Augustine Commission’s recommendation to scrap the Ares I rocket developed at Marshall Space Flight Center, said in a prepared statement that the vote shows Congress’ support for the program.
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New Spending Plan Protects Project Constellation
The House and Senate reached an agreement this week on a 2010 spending bill that would provide NASA with $18.7 billion and prevent the agency from scaling back or canceling the Ares I rocket or other human spaceflight projects without approval from congressional appropriators.
The spending bill represents an $942 million increase over NASA’s 2009 budget and includes $3.8 billion for human spaceflight activities for 2010.
“In the absence of a bona fide proposal from the (Obama) Administration on the future of U.S. human spaceflight activities and investments, the bill provides the budget request of $3.8 billion for activities to support human spaceflight in fiscal year 2010,” the U.S. Congress House and Senate Committees on Appropriation said this week.
“However, the bill requires that any program termination or elimination or the creation of any new program, project or activity not contemplated in the budget request must be approved in subsequent appropriations Acts.”
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